Johannesburg: If Lionel Messi is enjoying
himself, then so are the rest of us.
That`s how Argentina coach Diego Maradona put it
yesterday after Messi produced a mesmerizing performance in a
1-0 win over Nigeria in Group B at the World Cup that was
unlucky not to have been rewarded with a goal.
Maradona`s tactics for the 22-year-old forward were
"I want Messi to be very close to the ball. As long as he
has fun, then we are all going to have fun," Maradona said.
"Football wouldn`t be beautiful unless Messi is touching the
ball all the time. He performed magic today on the pitch."
Messi made a string of trademark weaving runs and curled
two left-footed shots that were brilliantly saved by
goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, who almost single-handedly kept
the FIFA world player of the year at bay.
Enyeama said he had done his homework on Argentina`s
"I`ve been watching his games in the Spanish league. I
got some inside information," Enyeama said. "But he`s still
the best I`ve faced in my career."
And it`s not just the opposition who are in awe of Messi.
"Incredible. Messi is fantastic. Unbelievable," said
Argentina right back Jonas Gutierrez.