Want To Play A Little More Like Lionel Messi? Easy, Just Idolize His Idol
We are, as the great philosopher put it, standing on the shoulders of giants. In Argentina there was a time when no footballer could hold a candle to Guillermo Stabile, who scored eight goals at the 1930 World Cup. But he was followed and surpassed by Luis Artime, a forward who ended his career with a strike rate of 0.96 goals per game for Argentina.
Not long after that came the great Diego Maradona, and now Argentina is defined by the brilliance of Lionel Messi. Each player, and hundreds in between, had to carry the mantle of “the next…” until they proved to be equal or even better. Messi has answered the question of the next Maradona, but his name will now weigh heavily on Argentina’s future generations.
In the period between Maradona and Messi there were many false hopes with regards to the next great La Albiceleste player. Pablo Aimar was one of those briefly anointed with the crown.
Aimar, like any mercurial artist of rare genius, burned brightly for a few years before injuries and poor form made him a shadow of his former self. But at his peak, he was the player most admired by Maradona.
“Pablo is the only current footballer I’d pay to watch. He’s been the best player in Argentina over the last couple of years and is even more talented than Riquelme or Saviola,” said Diego. El Pibe de Oro even recalled him to the national team in 2009 for two crucial World Cup qualifiers even though Aimar was now at the tail end of his career.
But perhaps what Aimar will be best known for down the years is his status as the idol of Lionel Messi. Messi, like Aimar before him, appears to be playing the game on an entirely different plain, and there are distinct similarities in their dribbling styles and understated flamboyance.
Así hablaba Leo Messi en 2002 sobre Pablo Aimar, su ídolo en sus inicios como futbolista: "Antes de recibir ya sabe lo que tiene que hacer" pic.twitter.com/aXaoVeNG8o— Vicente Tafaner (@VTafaner) September 26, 2016
Here’s a collection of short videos highlighting the different facets of Aimar’s game. It's easy to see why he inspired Messi.
Pablo Aimar’s Control
— Contrataque.it (@ContrataqueMag) November 3, 2016
Pablo Aimar’s Passing
— Legends of Football (@legend_footy) January 17, 2017
— Omar (@Omard_10) November 3, 2016
Pablo Aimar’s Finishing
Pablo Aimar pic.twitter.com/Ds7w3nQC8z
— River Plate (@LaBaandaCARP) December 11, 2016
QUÉ GOLAZO DE PABLITOOO. Pablo Aimar vs Los Andes en el 2000pic.twitter.com/3lB1jkjl6h— Juez Central (@Juezcentral) November 5, 2016
— Riccardo Meloni (@RiccardoMeloni4) November 3, 2016
Hoy pero hace 20 años debutaba Pablo Aimar. En River, nos regaló cosas como esta. ¡Grande Payaso! pic.twitter.com/R9ITM8G87V— La Liberti (@La_Liberti) August 12, 2016
Pablo Aimar's Ability To Almost Score With An Outrageous Rabona
A esta jugada me refería. El 'casi' gol de rabona de Pablo Aimar ante el Levante. ¿Se acuerdan? #eterno21
— Domingo Ortiz (@Domingortiz) November 25, 2016
Pablo Aimar's Dribbling Tekkers
Pablo Aimar cumple 37 años. pic.twitter.com/lhGn443Fqq— Jordi Archilla (@JordiArchilla) November 3, 2016
Pablo Aimar's Ability To Perfectly Sum Up Why South American Footballers Are A Million Times Better Than English Ones
Hey, Argentina Used To Be Really Good
— LeoCartazo CARP (@leocartazo) October 21, 2016
After an illustrious career with River Plate, Valencia and Benfica, as well as 52 appearances for Argentina, Aimar retired in 2015 after undergoing multiple surgeries on his right heel. But if Maradona were reinstated as Argentina manager, he would recall him.