The new era of Maradona pragmatism begins.
"He let the tortoise get away with some of the things he said about me, he let it get away badly, very badly. That's why it's now an issue with no solutions." (From Maradona: The Autobiography of Soccer's Greatest and Most Controversial Soccer Star).
Maradona does not hold back when asked his personal opinion of Juan Sebastian Veron. However, he has also been an long standing admirer and champion of the former Lazio player who was named South American player last season for his standout role in Estudiantes revitalization.
Maradona's first meaningful match was an outstanding success. Argentina thoroughly outclassed Argentina and kept pace with rivals Brazil and Paraguay in the World Cup qualifiers. Once the match was in the bag, Maradona trotted out Veron in the 70th minute eschewing any bitter feelings that he might have and showing a pragmatism that Argentina will need if they have to get back to the heady days of the 1986 World Cup.
In Riquelme's absence the attacking midfield lacks a deep threat which relies on plays mostly developed by Messi around the 30 meter mark. Veron's vision opens up the game and his experience in set pieces gives the Argentine attack another dimension.
Whether Veron can shoulder this responsibility on a national level is questionable. He is a veteran of two World Cups and his insipid performance was singled out in Argentina's shocking early exit in 2002. He has a long history of untimely injuries and problems dealing with a more physical style of soccer. English fans know him as a highly paid clunker from his days at Chelsea and Man Utd.