Argentina at 2010 World Cup: Messi, Maradona and disappointment

This story is part of our series looking back on the 2010 World Cup and its biggest moments and themes with a decade’s worth of perspective. For more, read about the lasting legacy of the competition in South Africa, the long-tail impact of Frank Lampard’s ghost goal vs. Germanyhow France’s debacle planted the seeds for its 2018 success and whether Luis Suarez’s controversial handball was really all that evil.

Conversations about who was greater are often futile. Diego Maradona was great, and Lionel Messi is great, and whichever one you prefer–the explosive and temperamental or the relentlessly consistent–is broadly a matter of personal taste. But for Argentinians at least, what Maradona will always have that Messi as of yet does not is a World Cup title. Whatever other parameters you may set, Maradona’s performances in Mexico in 1986, particularly in the final three games, remain the greatest individual displays by anybody at a major tournament.

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