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IS MESSI AKIN TO MARADONA OFF THE FIELD?

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Lionel Messi is the only Argentine to truly live up to being described as the next Diego Maradona so it was little surprise the Barcelona captain should dedicate his goal in Sunday’s 4-0 Liga win over Osasuna to his late compatriot.

Argentina’s two iconic players may be contrasting characters but they shared many traits including a bond with Newell’s Old Boys and the Barca captain removed his shirt to reveal the red and black of the Rosario club before pointing to the sky.

Lionel Messi was born a year after Maradona captained Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986 in Mexico but he was at Newell’s stadium as a fan in 1993 when Maradona made his debut for the club.

Messi’s goal on Sunday was striking in its similarity to one Maradona scored that day against Emelec, both players dribbling across the edge of the area before finding the top corner.

It was not the only time Lionel Messi imitated Maradona.

His solo effort against Getafe in 2007 was a carbon copy of Maradona’s second against England in the ‘86 World Cup quarter-final also remembered for the Argentine’s “Hand of God” goal.

Sparked by a dance past two players near the halfway line, it was finished off with a dribble round the keeper and a slide to the ground as the ball trickled into the net.

That same season, Messi produced his own “Hand of God” moment by punching the ball into the net against Espanyol, prompting an Argentine commentator to yell: “That’s Maradona dressed up as Lionel Messi. He has been reincarnated.”

The two players also shared a low centre of gravity, incredible passing range and vision plus a magical left foot, although their characters often seemed worlds apart.

EVENTFUL CAREER

Maradona craved the spotlight throughout his eventful career and was often in the news for his off-field activities.

Yet that often helped his image, particularly in Argentina where thousands of people have defied COVID-19 restrictions to mourn their hero, who died aged 60 on Wednesday.

While Messi sampled the Barcelona night life as a youth, he is a private family man, having had three boys with childhood sweetheart Antonela Roccuzzo who he married in 2017.

The biggest scandal was when he was found guilty of tax fraud, a charge also faced by Maradona whose stellar career was truncated by years of drug use, overeatig and alcoholism.

But who ranks as the better player?

Maradona scored 346 goals in 679 matches for his clubs and country in all competitions but two drug bans plus health and injury problems meant he only spent eight years at the very top of his game.

Messi, who began his career in 2004, has played 855 matches and scored 712 goals, with still a few years left in him at 33. He is Barca’s record scorer and most decorated player, hoisting 10 La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies.

DOMINANT PLAYER

Maradona never won Europe’s top club prize but he did drag an ordinary Napoli side to two Serie A titles and a UEFA Cup triumph, while he was equally talismanic for Argentina and the dominant player at the 1986 World Cup.

Messi is Argentina’s all-time top scorer but luck has deserted him when it matters most. He was on the losing side in the 2014 World Cup final which was lost to Germany in extra time and tasted defeat in two Copa America finals on penalties.

“Maradona is definitely the best player I ever saw, but Messi fans shouldn’t get angry about that because he lives in a different era,” Argentina’s president Alberto Fernandez said earlier this year.

“But you could put Maradona alongside 10 broomsticks and he would still make the team win.”

Former players find it harder to choose who was the best.

“Diego was more artistic and more passionate, but Messi has achieved more,” said Maradona’s ex-Argentina team mate Jorge Valdano.

Current Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone, who played with Maradona for Sevilla and Argentina added: “It doesn’t make sense to choose between them, they played in different eras.

“Diego was much more emotional but Leo scored many more goals. They were both extraordinarily good but very different.”

REUTERS

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WORLD C’SHIPS: AIBA INTRODUCES WHITE GLOVES; WINNERS TO GET ­MEDALS, BELTS AND PRIZE MONEY

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The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has announced that the official gloves of the World Championships will be now white in colour replacing the red and blue ones.

With the title win, the champions will also receive medals and belts to keep and wear with pride. AIBA will award the winners of the men’s World Boxing Championships with designed medals and belts to commemorate their accomplishments. Medals will be made of solid gold and silver respectively.

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DENMARK OPEN: PV SINDHU MARCHES INTO NEXT ROUND

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India shuttler PV Sindhu on Tuesday marched ahead to the next round of the ongoing Denmark Open.

Sindhu defeated Turkey’s Neslihan Yigit 21-12, 21-10 in a match that lasted for 30 minutes.

The ace Indian shuttler dominated the entire match and her Turkish opponent was left struggling to search for answers.

Earlier in the day, India men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy progressed to the next round of the ongoing Denmark Open.

The Indian duo defeated England’s Callum Hemming and Steven Stallwood 23-21, 21-15 here at Court 3.

Earlier in the day, Srikanth Kidambi got the better of compatriot B Sai Praneeth in straight sets in the men’s singles 1st round of Denmark Open here at the Odense Sports Park on Tuesday.

Playing at court-2, Kidambi inflicted a 21-14, 21-11 defeat on Praneeth in just 30 minutes. With this win, Kidambi has now moved into round-of-16 in the World Tour Super 1000 event in Denmark.

Srikanth completely outclassed and dominated Praneeth in both games.

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DON’T MIX SPORTS WITH POLITICS, INDIA-PAK T20 WC MATCH SHOULD GO ON: PRAKASH PADUKONE

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India badminton legend Prakash Padukone on Tuesday said that sports and politics should not be mixed with each other, and the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan should proceed as planned.India and Pakistan are slated to lock horns against each other in the World Cup on October 24 in Dubai.

“According to me, the match between India and Pakistan should go on. Sports and politics should not be mixed together,” Padukone told ANI.

Earlier on Tuesday, Aam Aadmi Party had demanded that the Indian cricket team should opt-out of its match against Pakistan in ICC T20 World Cup in Dubai.

During a press conference, Atishi, AAP MLA from Kalkaji said, “We see people being attacked in Kashmir. I’m sure that even the Prime Minister agrees with the stand of not conducting the match (IND v PAK) as when in Opposition he used to question that when state-sponsored terrorism is taking place in India why should we play cricket with them?”

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Harbhajan Singh, Javagal Srinath among 18 new honorary members of MCC

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Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) on Tuesday announced 18 new honorary life members. MCC awards Honorary Life Membership (HLM) of the club to some of the world’s finest cricketers.

Eight of the 12 Test-playing nations are represented in this year’s list, which includes some of the most recognisable names in the modern game.

England’s leading Test run-scorer, Sir Alastair Cook, is joined by fellow countrymen Ian Bell and Marcus Trescothick, totalling more than 39,000 international runs between them. A fourth England star, Sarah Taylor, returned to the field this year, appearing in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, Charlotte Edwards Cup and The Hundred, and is recognised as one of the finest wicket-keepers of her generation.

Four South African legends have been awarded Honorary Life Membership, with Hashim Amla, Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis and Morne Morkel all receiving the honour. Kallis’s 13,289 Test runs puts him third on the all-time run-scoring list.

Alex Blackwell and Damien Martyn of Australia are also included. Allrounder Blackwell won over 250 caps for her country across all formats of the games, and batter Martyn scored almost 10,000 international runs.

Indian duo Harbhajan Singh and Javagal Srinath both enjoyed fine international careers. Harbhajan is India’s third-highest wicket-taker in Tests, with 417 dismissals in 103 Tests, while Srinath is one of the country’s greatest ODI players, having taken 315 wickets and ended his career as India’s second-highest wicket-taker in ODIs.

Ian Bishop, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan all represent West Indies. Bishop took 161 wickets in just 43 matches, while Chanderpaul is West Indies’ most capped Test player (164) and only seven players have scored more than his 11,867 runs.

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BERRINGTON, BOWLERS SHINE AS SCOTLAND DEFEAT PNG IN GROUP B

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Richie Berrington’s 70-run knock and a spirited bowling performance helped Scotland defeat Papua New Guinea (PNG) by 17 runs in Group B of the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup here at the Al Amerat Cricket Ground (Ministry Turf 1) on Tuesday.

Chasing 166, PNG got off to a horror start as the side lost five wickets and was reduced to 35/5. Tony Ura (2), Lega Siaka (9), Assad Vala (18), Charles Amini (1), and Simon Atai (2) all failed to leave a mark with the bat and Scotland was firmly at the top.

Sese Bau and Norman Vanua then put on 32 runs for the sixth wicket, but the required run-rate got a bit too much to handle and as a result, Bau (24) ended up losing his wicket to Chris Greaves, reducing PNG to 67/6 in the 12th over. Norman Vanua and Kiplin Doriga then provided a real scare to Scotland as the duo put on a quickfire stand of 53 runs for the seventh wicket. Mark Watt then dismissed Doriga (18) and Scotland needed 42 runs to win from the final three overs.

Vanua (47) however perished in the 18th over, and with this PNG’s hopes were dashed and Scotland registered a 17-run victory.

Brief Scores: Scotland 165/9 (Richie Berrington 70, Matthew Cross 45; Kabua Morea 4-31); PNG 148 all out (Norman Vanua 47, Sese Bau 24; Josh Davey 4-18).

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Spirited all-round performance sees Bangladesh defeat Oman in Group B

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Aspirited bowling performance helped Bangladesh defeat Oman by 26 runs in Group B of the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup here at the Al Amerat Cricket Ground (Ministry Turf 1) on Tuesday.

Chasing 154, Oman lost its opener Aqib Ilyas (6) in the second over of the innings. Jatinder Singh and Kashyap Prajapati then put on 34 runs for the second wicket, but the partnership ended in the 6th over as Mustafizur Rahman dismissed Prajapati (21), reducing Oman to 47/2.

Jatinder then rallied Oman’s innings alongside skipper Zeeshan Maqsood and at the halfway mark, the score read 70/2, still needing 84 more runs to win from 60 balls. Both batters stitched together a 34-run stand for the third wicket, but as soon as Oman started to gain an upper hand, Bangladesh stormed right back as Mahedi Hasan dismissed Maqsood (12). Soon after, Jatinder (40) was dismissed by Shakib Al Hasan and Oman was reduced to 90/4.

Oman kept on losing wickets at regular intervals and in the end, Bangladesh registered a victory by 26 runs to keep their hopes alive of progressing to the Super 12 stage.

Earlier, Mohammad Naim and Shakib Al Hasan played knocks of 64 and 42 respectively as Bangladesh posted a score of 153. Opting to bat first, Bangladesh did not get off to an ideal start as the side lost its opener Liton Das (6) in the third over of the innings. Bilal had Das caught right plumb in front of the wickets. Soon after, Mahedi Hasan was dismissed for a duck by Fayyaz Butt and Bangladesh was reduced to 21/2 in the 5th over.

Mohammad Naim and Shakib then got together at the crease and the duo revived the innings for Bangladesh. The duo put on 80 runs for the third wicket, but as soon as Bangladesh started to gain an upper hand, Oman managed to dismiss Shakib (42) via a run-out. After Shakib’s dismissal, Bangladesh lost the wickets of Nurul Hasan (3), Afifi Hossain (1) and Naim (64) in quick succession and Bangladesh was reduced to 122/6 in the 17th over. However, in the end, Mahmudullah (17) ensured that Bangladesh posts a total of more than the 150-run mark.

Earlier in the day, Richie Berrington’s 70-run knock and a spirited bowling performance helped Scotland defeat Papua New Guinea (PNG) by 17 runs in Group B.

Brief Scores: Bangladesh 153 all out (Mohammad Naim 64, Shakib Al Hasan 42; Bilal Khan 3-18); Oman 127/9 (Jatinder Singh 40, Kashyap Prajapati 21, Mustafizur Rahman 4-36).

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