Diego Armando Maradona was the best footballer the world has ever seen. A controversial character that oozed undisputable talent. On the pitch he displayed a will to win and had the ability to change the game single handedly- a true footballing genius.

The inspirational rougue was player of the tournament in the 1986 World Cup Cam Newton Rush Jersey , particularly displaying his Jekyl and Hyde traits in the semi final victory against England- the infamous 'Hand of God' goal deceiving the referee, followed by spectacular dribble from his own half, rounding six players before scoring. This is also know as the Goal of the Century.

Many Argentine players have been labelled 'the next Maradona', but none have influenced the world game as much as the original. The first 'new Maradona' that we have traced is Diego Latorre. As an eighteen year old he scored on his debut for Boca Juniors. He moved to Europe with Fiorentina but failed to make an impact Ted Ginn Jr Black Jersey , especially when compared with the player he arrived with, Gabriel Batistuta.

The next 'new Maradona' was Ariel Arnaldo Ortega. A temperamental and immensely gifted footballer that struggled to make a true imprint on the world game, possibly due to his volatility. Ortega represented Argentina 97 times, scoring 19 goals. Even for his country he often displayed a lack of control Kelvin Benjamin Black Jersey , most notably being sent off in the quarter finals of the 1998 World Cup for headbutting Dutch goalkeeper van der Sar.

The troubled forward had spells in Europe with Valencia, Sampdoria, Parma and Fenerbachce. He was suspended from all football for eighteen months after resigning from his Fenerbachce contract. Ortega battled alcoholism for a large part of his career and his undoubted talent was not consistently displayed on the field to live up to the exploits of Diego. Off the pitch, he probably managed to match Maradona's controversy.

Maradona proclaimed that Pablo Aimar was "his legitimate successor as the world's best player". Aimar had an impressive introduction to European football helping Valencia win the Spanish title and become runners up in the Champions League. He would later win the Uefa cup with the Spanish side.

After Valencia Thomas Davis Sr Black Jersey , he remained in Spain with Real Zaragoza until they were relegated and he is still playing in Potugal with Benfica. His effortless playing style is reminiscent of Maradona yet he was unable to influence the international scene, making 51 appearances for Argentina. Maybe there is more to come?

The most exciting prospect to emerge from Argentina since Maradona would be Lionel Messi. At just 21 years of age it is unfair to suggest that Messi has inherited Maradona's crown, yet the comparisons and similarities are obvious. When he was 11 years old he was diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency. Spanish giants Barcelona were aware of his talents and offered to pay for his treatment and move the player and his family to Spain.

Barcelona's faith in the player has paid off as he has become one of the brightest stars in world football's constellation. In 2004, he was part of the Argentina under 20 team that won the under 20 World Cup. He was named the player of the tournament and was the top goal scorer. He made his official debut for Barcelona in 2004 and scored his first goal in 2005 Greg Olsen Black Jersey , aged just 17.

In 2005 he also received a call up for the full national team. His debut was as a substitute against Hungary. Unbelievably he was sent off after just 40 seconds for elbowing a defender. The contentious decision resulted in Messi leaving the pitch in tears. In the 200506 season Messi really emerged for Barcelona, scoring 7 goals in 23 appearances as Barcelona conquered the Spanish league and the Champions League. He became the youngest player to represent Argentina at a World Cup in 2006.

In the 200607 season Messi managed to replicate Maradona's two most famous goals, a 'Hand of God' effort in a crucial game against Espanyol. Earlier in the season, he scored two goals during a Copa del Rey semi-final against Gatafe Kawann Short Black Jersey , one of which was very similar to Maradona's famous Goal of the Century effort against England at the 1986 World Cup. The world's sports press exploded with Maradona comparisons, and the Spanish press labelled Messi as 'Messidona'. Incredibly, Messi ran approximately the same distance (62 m), beating the same number of players (six Luke Kuechly Black Jersey , including the goalkeeper), scored from a very similar position, and ran towards the corner flag just as Maradona did in Mexico 21 years before.

Messi's story has only just begun. In 2007 he was voted young player of the tournament in the Copa America. In 2008 Messi had already reached the 100 appearance mark for Barceolna and had been declared the best player in the world by many personalities, including Diego Maradona Cam Newton Black Jersey , Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Johan Cruyff. Messi was the cataylst in the Argentina team that won the 2008 Olympic gold medal. It is anticipated that Messi has the potential not only to emulate Maradona, but to overtake him as the best player ever. Maybe the next search won;t be for the new Maradona, but the new Messi?
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