Neymar and Ronaldo both come under fire from a Messi gun show

It takes a creative mind to imagine either of them producing a Ron Burgundy kiss-the-guns routine after yet another match-winning display, but this week is the perfect opportunity for the Messis to prove just who is running the show.

First up came The Paraguayan Messi, the name by which we are obliged to call the Argentina’s starlet Juan Iturbe.

The albiceleste under-20s are currently battling out World Championship and Olympic qualification in Peru and, frankly, making something of a hash of it.

Despite a number of talented players in the squad and the official line from the coaching department that they are trying to instil a Barcelona-style philosophy both at youth and full international level, the youngsters are still some way from impressing.

However the issue of how the side is playing was left as something of a footnote on Monday morning. The papers, portals and presenters instead revelled in headlines which ranged in tone, but all essentially carried the same message. IN YOUR FACE, BRAZIL!

The Young Samba Boys had looked by far the strongest of the sides in Peru, and also boasted the best player of the tournament, the formidable Santos striker Neymar.

Yet Argentina, aided by a seventh minute red card to Juan and subsequent penalty, won the clásico. The winner came from Iturbe - another brilliant goal, this one even closer to copying Messi than his previous golazo in the tournament.

Iturbe had stolen the headlines from Neymar (and predictably set off the rumours about Manchester United’s interest).

One explosive, complete, gifted, moody, Portuguese-speaking and questionably-coiffed villain down, one more to go.

While the under-20s have another derby today, with Uruguay, the real showdown is Messi against Ronaldo.

It is utterly futile pretending that Argentina against Portugal is not a battle of the two. ‘Messi and Ronaldo steal the show’ say La Nación. Olé reckon it is ‘Star Wars’.

While there has been some other issues to argue about – Tevez left out as a punishment being one of them, not to mention an eyebrow-raising squad selection – it is the duel between the Barcelona and Real Madrid forwards that has everyone talking.

In Spain, the battle has been taken on an extraordinary dimension, with La Liga Loca’s favoured morning read, Marca, even resorting to lying over the number of goals each player has scored.

But while we argue about stats, who contributes more to the team, whose style we prefer, or who has a more agreeable personality, the international friendly in Switzerland is possibly a far better test than their club form.

Of course, the fixture lacks the tension of a Barca/Madrid summit meeting as it is merely a friendly, but both players being removed from the context of their respective clubs certainly makes things a little more tasty. The argument sustained by CR9 lovers is that Messi fits into a system at Barcelona, and so his goals are served up on a plate. With Xavi and Iniesta around him, who wouldn’t score all those goals?! (Bojan is the quick answer to that one.)

So while Argentina aim to regroup after the World Cup, as mentioned above, the official line is that Barcelona are the style of football they aspire to playing. As an idea, it is flawless, but the reality is somewhat different. Argentina may have thrashed a groggy Spain side in Buenos Aires 4-1 back in September, but it fooled nobody.

Argentina are still some way off playing the type of football Barcelona delight us with. So if Messi still produces a world-class performance, especially with Ronaldo down the other end of the pitch, then it is one more argument in favour of the flea – if anyone still needed it.

Not only that, it would add to a pretty special week for Argentina, and the Messis. Perhaps some gun-kissing would be in order.

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