Reuters Soccer Blog
Lionel Messi’s sublime hat-trick for Barcelona against Real Zaragoza on Sunday – his second triple in consecutive La Liga matches – provided more ammunition for those who believe he is the best player in the world.
Lionel Messi’s hat-trick for Barcelona last weekend has once again sparked the debate in Argentina over his indifferent form for his country.
Players and coaches are going to have to grin (or rather whinge) and bear it after football’s rule-makers decided that preserving the game’s essence and traditions are more important than the grievances of a few unlucky losers.
After the century of call-ups and largely meaningless tests against mediocre opposition in friendlies, not to mention the lack of direction in the qualifiers, talent and form look set to win out in the race for places in Argentina’s World Cup squad.
Diego Maradona is in danger of demeaning as a coach the light blue and white Argentine stripes he graced and worshipped as a player.
Argentina coach Diego Maradona will appear in person before a disciplinary hearing at FIFA headquarters on Sunday to explain his foul-mouthed outbursts (plural) following the win over Uruguay in Montevideo last month.
******The prospect of seeing Sergio “Kun” Aguero pulling on a blue shirt next season instead of the red and white stripes of Atletico Madrid must be a mouthwatering one for any Chelsea fan.******The 21-year-old Argentina striker, nicknamed “Kun” after a Japanese cartoon character with a similar hairstyle, showed why he remains a target for top clubs when he came off the bench and scored two superb goals in the 2-2 draw at the Calderon on Tuesday.******Cash-strapped Atletico turned down offers for him over the close season including, reportedly, one of around 35 million euros from Chelsea. His contract includes a buyout clause worth 60 million.******The London club are waiting to hear the result of their appeal against FIFA’s transfer ban and could make another move for Aguero either in the January transfer window or next summer.******Coach Carlo Ancelotti said this week he could see Aguero playing alongside Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba but added that he thought it would be hard for Chelsea to snare the Argentine.******The contrasting playing styles of the pair were evident on Tuesday.******Aguero, with his low centre of gravity, is hard to shake off the ball and is at his best running at defenders. On his day he is a deadly finisher, as Barcelona found out to their cost last season.******Drogba is all about muscle, which he used to good effect on Tuesday when he outjumped the Atletico defence to score a header and then bulldozed his way through to net a second.******Aguero fathered a son, Benjamin, with Diego Maradona’s daughter Giannina in February and Maradona, who is also Aguero’s boss as Argentina coach, advised him last year to seek a move to Inter Milan.******Atletico, 18th in La Liga after nine matches with just one win, are almost certain to miss out on a Champions League spot for next season, making it much more likely Aguero will move on from the Spanish capital.******PHOTO: Atletico Madrid’s Sergio “Kun” Aguero (L) scores with a free kick against Chelsea, Nov 3, 2009. REUTERS/Juan Medina