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RIO DE JANEIRO Greg Olsen Jersey , July 11 (Xinhua) -- Lionel Messi was 11 years old when his parents Jorge and Celia took him to see Argentine endocrinologist Diego Schwarzstein.
The story goes that Messi, who suffered a growth hormone deficiency, asked Schwarzstein if he would grow tall enough to be a footballer.
"Don't worry," Schwarzstein told him. "One day you are going to be taller than Diego Maradona Kawann Short Jersey , maybe not better than him, but taller."
Messi would in fact grow to be four centimeters taller than his idol. But 16 years after that visit to Schwarzstein's clinic in Rosario, Messi is arguably on the verge of proving the doctor was only half right.
On Sunday he will captain an Argentina side aiming for a third World Cup against Germany at Rio's Maracana stadium.
It would be a crowning glory for a player that is already rated among the greatest in history.
Since making his first-team debut for Barcelona in 2004, Messi has won three UEFA Champions League medals Trai Turner Jersey , six La Liga titles and two Spanish Cups.
Individually, he has won the Ballon D'Or - awarded the to the world's best player - a record four times.
But for all his success at the Camp Nou, Messi has been criticized for not replicating his club form for Argentina.
Sunday's fixture will be his first World Cup final at his third attempt.
In 2006 he was a bit-part player under Jose Pekerman in Germany, when Argentina lost to the hosts on penalties in the quarterfinals.
He failed to score in South Africa four years later when the Albiceleste also fell in the last eight to the same opponents.
Such a record has prompted many to say that Messi's name cannot be mentioned in the same breath as Maradona.
The former Napoli No. 10 led Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986 with a string of scintillating individual performances. Four years later he took the team to the final Ryan Kalil Jersey , where they were defeated by Franz Beckenbaur's West Germany.
So would victory for Argentina at the Maracana see Messi supplant Maradona as his country's best ever player? Who better than Beckenbaur to pass judgement?
"It's a very fitting comparison. But Maradona was an even more exceptional player than Messi is today," Beckenbaur told the official website of the German Football Federation (DFB) on Friday.
There is a feeling that it is now or never for Messi, who turned 27 last month. Maradona was 25 in 1986 and - despite continuing to be decisive for club and country - was considered to be in decline in Italy four years later.
Former England striker Michael Owen knows all about the ravages time, having played his best football in his early 20s before his body succumbed to injuries.
"Maybe this is his time Luke Kuechly Jersey ," Owen, who scored against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup, told Goal. "He is at the peak of his career and Argentina have a good chance to win it. If they do then Messi will be regarded together with Maradona."
Maradona's former Argentina teammate Osvaldo Ardiles believes Messi has already resolved the dispute, regardless of Sunday's result.
"Lionel Messi will go down in history as the greatest player of all time Cam Newton Jersey , the best that has existed," Ardiles said.
His view is not shared by Claudio Paul Caniggia, who also played with Maradona for the Albiceleste.
"It's not fair to compare Messi with Diego in '86," the retired forward said. "Messi is great Donte Jackson Jersey , he can decide a match with one touch, but right now he is not at the level of Diego Maradona. El Diego in 1986 was something else."
Not all Argentinians are so predisposed to drawing comparisons between the pair.
Journalist Sebastian Perez-Ferreiro said any parallels should only be made later in Messi's career.
"First he needs to win, and play a critical part in the win," Perez-Ferreiro said. "Then he needs to take Argentina to another final. It's a lot - but that's what Diego did.
"It's funny because perhaps the journalists are the only ones making the comparison. Messi himself has said he's not at the same level that Diego was."
Whatever the outcome on Sunday DJ Moore Jersey , the debate is unlikely to cease. And somewhere in Rosario, Diego Schwarzstein might remind himself to keep his predictions to the field of medicine.
ISLAMABAD, June 29 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan karate team's preparations are in full swing for the upcoming Asian Games 2014 to be held in South Korea later this year, officials said on Sunday.
National coach Khalid Noor said that the country's both male and female contingents had been working hard in the training camp at Pakistan sports complex in capital Islamabad.
"Total 17 male and 12 female players are attending the camp in two different sessions for rigorous physically and technical training according to the latest rules of the games for the Asia's mega event Da'Norris Searcy Jersey ," said Noor.
About performance of the players in the Asian Games the coach said there are some brilliant players in the team who made name in many international events and hopefully would produce their best in the Asian Games.
After featuring in the Asian Games, the Pakistani team would proceed to Germany for the 22nd edition of the World Karate Championships to be held from November 5 to 9.
In an attempt to better prepare the side, Pakistan has also planned tours of Turkey and Iran in August and September respectively, the official said.
Earlier this week Jarius Wright Jersey , Pakistan team could not proceed to India to defend its title of South Asian Karate Championship because Indian authorities refused to issue visas to the players and officials.
NICOSIA， June 15 (Xinhua) -- New Cypriot carrier Cobalt Air has started selling tickets for flights expected to start on July 7， an official said on Wednesday.
Grecory Diacou， Cobalt's chairman， said that the start of flight operations was made possible after the airline received its operating license on Tuesday.
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