New Maradona or New Diego is a title given by the press and public to promising Argentine football players in reference (and reverence) to Diego Maradona as a benchmark. Since Maradona retired, people have been anticipating someone to lead the Argentine national team to a World Cup final, like Maradona did twice.
As a consequence, very talented youngsters are quickly labeled as a New Maradona, sometimes without any similarity in playing style (for example Franco Di Santo or Juan Román Riquelme). The New Maradonas are predominately players in attacking roles — forwards, wingers, or attacking midfielders.
Although still widely contested among Argentine football players, in recent times, the title has been attached to FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, an assertion claimed by Maradona himself. Maradona and Messi worked together as manager and captain for Argentina's national side at the 2010 World Cup, the former thoroughly impressed with the latter's skills.
Even before Maradona made this pronouncement, people already drew comparisons with the two. On 14 October 2006 in a match against Recreativo de Huelva, Messi scored a goal with his hand, which drew comparison to the Hand of God goal scored by Maradona against England in the 1986 World Cup. On 18 April 2007, Messi scored a goal against Getafe CF which was very similar to Maradona's second goal against England, called the Goal of the Century. The world's sports press exploded with Maradona comparisons, and the Spanish press labeled Messi "Messidona". Messi also scored a goal using his hand in Barcelona's 2–2 draw with RCD Espanyol, leading to comparisons with Maradona's first goal against England.
List of players once thought to be the "New Maradona"
- Diego Latorre (originally)
- Ariel Ortega
- Marcelo Gallardo
- Franco di Santo
- Juan Román Riquelme
- Pablo Aimar
- Andrés D'Alessandro
- Javier Saviola
- Carlos Marinelli
- Carlos Tevez
- Lionel Messi
- Sergio Agüero
- Ezequiel Lavezzi
- Mauro Zárate
- "Maradona proclaims Messi as his successor". China Daily. Reuters. 25 February 2006. Retrieved 28 December 2012. ""I have seen the player who will inherit my place in Argentine football and his name is Messi," Argentina's 1986 World Cup-winning captain was quoted a saying on Friday."
- "Goal hero Messi spares a thought for Maradona". ESPN. Reuters. 19 April 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2012. "Barcelona-based daily Sport said 'Messi Superstar' on its front page while the Marca led with 'Messidona.'"
- "Messi emulates Maradona with 'hand of god' goal". ESPN. Reuters. 9 June 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2012. "Argentine prodigy Lionel Messi emulated Diego Maradona once again on Saturday when he scored a replica of the Argentine great's famous 'hand of god' goal with a desperate equaliser against city rivals Espanyol on Saturday."
- "Judgment days for Riquelme". The Scotsman (Edinburgh: Johnston Publishing). 3 June 2006. Retrieved 28 December 2012. "DIEGO Latorre was the first of the new Maradonas, the squat man from Boca Juniors exciting the Argentinian nation in the late 1980s, in the way that his great hero had done a decade earlier."
- Hughes, Stan (9 March 2009). "Maradona". Footy Factor. Retrieved 28 December 2012. "Ariel Ortega, Marcelo Gallardo, Juan Roman Riquelme, Carlos Tevez, Lionel Messi, the list goes on and on. All have been touted as the 'new Maradona' but none have lived up to the unique style and success that Diego Armando Maradona enjoyed during his 20-year playing career."
- "Bound for Chile". The Dominion Post (Wellington: Fairfax Media). 28 December 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2014. "Argentina under-20 striker Franco di Santo, dubbed the "new Maradona", was recently signed by Chelsea from Audax for $3 million."
- "Judgment days for Riquelme". The Scotsman (Edinburgh: Johnston Publishing). 3 June 2006. Retrieved 15 June 2014. "Javier Saviola, Carlos Tevez and Lionel Messi are the most recent, with the daddy of them all being 27-year-old Juan Roman Riquelme."
- "Real Zaragoza 3-0 Gimnastic de Tarragona". ESPN. 19 November 2006. Retrieved 28 December 2012. "Argentinian Aimar, who moved to Zaragoza from Valencia over the summer, has struggled to live up to his billing as 'the new Maradona' - one of several players to have been handed that tag - since moving to Spain."
- Williamson, Laura (28 May 2009). "Is United's destroyer Lionel Messi the first 'New Maradona' worthy of the name?". Daily Mail (London: Associated Newspapers). Retrieved 28 December 2012. "Forget Joe Cole, d'Alessandro was lauded as the latest 'new Maradona' after coming through the River Plate youth ranks and impressing during the 2001 Under 20 World Cup."
- Adderley, Nigel (11 July 2001). "The next Maradona". BBC Sport (London: British Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 28 December 2012. "His goal in his home city against Ghana ensures he'll continue to be saddled with the tag of being 'The New Maradona' for a bit longer."
- Williamson, Laura (28 May 2009). "Is United's destroyer Lionel Messi the first 'New Maradona' worthy of the name?". Daily Mail (London: Associated Newspapers). Retrieved 28 December 2012. "Boro manager Bryan Robson said: 'People always like to tag a player and I hope he does turn out the be the new Maradona. 'That would be a great buy for us - but there's a long way to go before that.'"
- Vickery, Tim (6 December 2004). "Tevez - an Argentine in Brazil". BBC Sport (London: British Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 28 December 2012. "'The new Maradona' - Carlos Tevez - is joining Corinthians for nearly $20m in a strong candidate for the strangest move of the year."
- Vickery, Tim (22 August 2005). "Messi handles 'new Maradona' tag". BBC Sport (London: British Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 28 December 2012. "Nevertheless, there is little doubt that in this time 18-year-old Lionel Messi is the most exciting Argentine talent to have emerged, an attacking midfielder who promises to be able to tip the balance at the highest level."
- Lowe, Sid (2 October 2006). "Aguero blows the chance to lay Atlético's derby jinx to rest". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 28 December 2012. "Put yourself in Sergio Aguero's natty blue shoes. You're the latest New Maradona, the most expensive signing in Atlético Madrid's 103-year history, 25m worth of quick feet, vision and goals, of shirt-hanging-out-of-shorts, scurrying genius."
- Bandini, Paolo (4 September 2007). "Livewire Lavezzi sparks Napoli into life, before the inevitable". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 28 December 2012. "Step aside Leo Messi, Carlos Tevez, and ... er ... Carlos Marinelli, there's a new New Maradona on the scene, and this one even plays for Napoli. Ezequiel Iván Lavezzi, a 5.5m summer signing from San Lorenzo, had already signalled his arrival with a match-winning hat-trick against Pisa in the Coppa Italia last month, but it takes a little more than bullying Serie B sides to make i partoponei forget el Pibe d'Oro."
- Cheese, Caroline (29 March 2008). "Premier League as it happened". BBC Sport (London: British Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 28 December 2012. "He's the new Maradona! That man Mauro Zarate fires into the far corner for his and Birmingham's second."