As Maradona hits 60, Leo Messi is still only 33

Diego Maradona celebrated his 60th birthday on Friday and as the old saying goes 'time waits for no man'. It would be wrong for us to say that Maradona is ageing well as we recall the fresh faced young Diego playing for Napoli or Maradona with Argentina at the Mexican World Cup where he 'hand of god' goal is now regarded as one of the most iconic moments of the game with the same semi-final against England seeing the No. 10 scoring one of the greatest goals of all time. Maradona has been involved in many foolish shenanigans since that time but nothing can take away the wonder of watching such a talented football player in his prime.

Homage to Argentinian soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona on his 60th birthday, in Buenos AiresA woman walks past a billboard in homage to Argentinian soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona on his 60th birthday, near the Buenos Aires' Obelisk, in Argentina October 30, 2020. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

Physical change

Celebrating ones 60th birthday is seen as 'turning the corner' and I'd say that also applied to a 33-year-old football player. It comes at a time when the physical condition isn't what it used to be. This metamorphosis doesn't come overnight and is a slow gradual occurrence and only noticeable over time. All of a sudden, a player who was previously bagging 91 goals per season struggles to find the net from open play with the penalty spot the only goal scoring solace. He's still able to trouble defenders but loses the final ball and now sees shots edging wide or being saved by the rival goalkeeper.

Playing style

Messi is now 33-years-old, the same age that Jesus Christ and Alexander the Great were. The Rosario born striker has enjoyed an extraordinary career and still has years ahead of him to play at a top level and will bag plenty of goals in the future but we will see his career start to tail off as that's simply the law of biology. There was a interesting report recently on GOL TV where they highlighted those little moments which reveal the change in Messi's manner of playing and may go some way in explaining why we're now seeing the Argentine play with a weary expression rather than the smile we we're use to seeing over the years. Messi is still a remarkable player and now simply needs to adapt his playing style to this loss of speed. Plenty of others have modified their individual style in the past and Leo certainly has the wisdom to know that the time has come to do the same.