Diego Maradona Says Lionel Messi Is Not A Leader For Argentina

Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi

Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi

Messi, who is 31, has not played for Argentina in three low-key friendlies since a 4-3 loss to eventual champions France in the first knock-out round at the World Cup, but has not officially retired from the national team.

Maradona, who made his comments from the Mexican state of Sinaloa, where he recently took over as coach of local second-tier side Dorados, said Messi's break was a sensible one.

Spanish giants Barcelona are keen to extend Lionel Messi's stay at the Nou Camp with the Argentine star free to leave the club in 18 months' time.

"Before speaking to the coach and players he will be on the PlayStation".

"Messi is a great player, but he's not a leader", Maradona told Fox Sports Mexico. Then, on the field, he wants to be the leader. Messi at Barcelona is one thing and another with Argentina.

Messi and Maradona are both revered in Argentina as the best two players the football-mad country has ever produced.

"I wouldn't call him up right now, but never say never. We have to take the pressure off him", he said. "I gave my vote to Claudio Tapia [AFA president], who knows nothing of football, but he betrayed me because he hired Jorge Sampaoli, who is not good enough for Argentina".

However, Lionel Scaloni's new-look side face a sterner examination of their credentials on Tuesday when they meet South American rivals Brazil in Jeddah.

Messi reportedly earns over £100million a year as a Barcelona player and is the best paid footballer in the world. Messi has a completely different style than Ronaldo.

"I'd make him play as I want".

Latest News