Messi celebrated his powerful strike from outside the box by stripping off Barcelona’s blue and burgundy to reveal the red and black of Maradona’s shirt from his time at Newell’s Old Boys. Messi then gave a kiss with both hands to the sky while looking upwards.
After the game, Messi posted a photo of his tribute alongside an old image of Maradona in the same shirt, adding the message ‘Farewell, Diego’ in Spanish.
“It was a great moment,” said Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman. “First, for the goal that Leo scored and then for the gesture he made for the death of Diego Maradona. Surely he had thought about what he was going to do. For me it was a big moment in all respects. ”
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Messi played for Newell before joining Barcelona at the age of 13. Maradona played five games for Newell in 1994 towards the end of his glorious playing career that made him a legend in his home country.
Messi had kept his head down during the minute of silence before the kick-off of the Spanish league game at Camp Nou empty for Maradona, who died of a heart attack on Wednesday aged 60. Maradona played for Barcelona from 1982 to 1984.
“We have lost Diego, a world idol,” Brazilian Barcelona striker Philippe Coutinho said. “Everyone admired him and we will all miss him. [Messi’s] the tribute was magnificent. ”
Coutinho also scored for Barcelona, with Martin Braithwaite and Antoine Griezmann.
The victory was only Barcelona’s second in seven league games. He left the team in eighth place with two games in hand. The leader of Real Sociedad later welcomes Villarreal, third place. Second-placed Atletico Madrid are nine points ahead of Barcelona with also two matches in progress.
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The victory for Koeman’s team may have come at the cost of losing another defender.
Clement Lenglet injured his lower right leg when he was accidentally hit by an Osasuna player in the second half. He had to be helped by two doctors from the team. Barcelona were already without three other center-backs due to injury and right-back Sergi Roberto.
Supreme dribbling skills
Barcelona ended the game with midfielder Frenkie de Jong in the center of their defense alongside reserve player Óscar Mingueza in his second game for the senior squad.
Koeman said it appears Lenglet’s injury is “not serious” but that he will undergo a medical examination on Monday.
Sergio Busquets returned for Barcelona after a knee injury that sidelined him for two games.
Considered by many to be the best player of his generation – and one of the greatest of all time – Messi has been judged, especially at home, based on how his career compares to that of Maradona.
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Messi shares the lower center of gravity, supreme dribbling skills and the ability to score mind-blowing goals as Argentina’s other great No.10. But while his football and family focused life kept him away from the addictions that wrecked Maradona’s health. , Messi has never been able to replicate the 1986 World Cup trophy that Maradona led his country to, coming closest in 2014 when an Argentina led by Messi lost in the final to Germany.
Messi’s tribute to Maradona overshadowed a fine performance by Griezmann, the French forward who has been criticized for not reaching his potential at Barcelona.
Braithwaite scrambled in a rebound – after Coutinho’s attempt was saved by Osasuna keeper Sergio Herrera – to open the scoring at the half hour.
Griezmann doubled the lead three minutes before half-time when he stole a lightning strike from outside the area that left Herrera caught off guard and with no chance of stopping him.
Griezmann then passed up another scoring opportunity and chose to help Coutinho score the hosts’ third goal in the 57th. Messi finished with his long-range strike in the 73rd.
“It was important to get this victory because those who were at the top of the table continue to win and we could not slip any further,” said Griezmann. “We didn’t know what Messi had planned to honor Maradona. It was a nice surprise. ”