Diego Maradona hits out at Lionel Messi, claiming he is no Argentina great

Diego Maradona hits out at Lionel Messi, claiming he is no Argentina great
1 / 2
Maradona and Messi when the former was the Barca boy's national team coach. (AFP)
Diego Maradona hits out at Lionel Messi, claiming he is no Argentina great
2 / 2
Updated 13 October 2018

Diego Maradona hits out at Lionel Messi, claiming he is no Argentina great

Diego Maradona hits out at Lionel Messi, claiming he is no Argentina great
  • Maradona says Messi's form for Argentina tarnishes his claim to be greatest player ever.
  • Deadly Diego adds that Messi is "no leader".

LONDON: Argentina great Diego Maradona has hit out at his countryman Lionel Messi, saying the forward is not a leader on the pitch and should not be considered a footballing God.
Maradona, who along with Brazil’s Pele is widely held to be one of the best players of all time, said Messi was one player at his club Barcelona and another with the national side.
“We shouldn’t deify Messi any longer,” Maradona said in an interview with Fox Sports. “He’s Messi when he plays for Barcelona. Messi is Messi when he wears that shirt and he’s another Messi with Argentina.
“He’s a great player but he’s not a leader. It’s useless trying to make a leader out of a man who goes to the toilet 20 times before a game.”
The reference was believed to be in connection with Messi’s extreme nerves before games that have seen him vomit ahead of some important matches.
Messi, 31, has claimed every possible honor with Barcelona and has won the Ballon d’Or five times.

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


But he has struggled to reproduce the same scintillating form when wearing the blue and white shirt of Argentina.
Messi has been on the losing side in all four of his finals with Argentina — three in the Copa America and at the 2014 World Cup — and has not scored in four World Cup knockout stages.
After another disappointing tournament in Russia this year, where Argentina failed to get past the last 16, Messi opted to take a sabbatical from international football.
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.
“I wouldn’t call him up right now, but never say never. We have to take the pressure off him,” he said.
Argentina beat Iraq 4-0 on Thursday with a new-look side, taking their unbeaten run since Russia to three games.
A sterner test will take place on Tuesday when they face Brazil in Saudi Arabia — without Messi.


Man Utd get better of Liverpool in five-goal thriller

Man Utd get better of Liverpool in five-goal thriller
Updated 25 January 2021

Man Utd get better of Liverpool in five-goal thriller

Man Utd get better of Liverpool in five-goal thriller
  • The English champions lost a league game at Anfield for the first time

MANCHESTER, United Kingdom: Bruno Fernandes’s stunning free-kick inflicted more misery on Liverpool as Manchester United progressed to the fifth round of the FA Cup with a thrilling 3-2 win at Old Tafford on Sunday.

Both sides struggled to create chances in a cagey 0-0 draw when they met in the Premier League last weekend.

But there was no repeat of that caution in a wide-open contest that ended Liverpool’s hopes of a first domestic cup win under Jurgen Klopp for another season.

The English champions lost a league game at Anfield for the first time in nearly four years to Burnley on Thursday to fall six points behind United at the top of the table.

In response, Klopp named a strong side despite making five changes as Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino returned.

Liverpool’s only goals in their previous five games came against an Aston Villa youth team in the last round of the FA Cup after Dean Smith’s side were struck down by a coronavirus outbreak.

But shades of the side that stormed to a first league title in 30 years last season were restored even if Klopp’s wait for a first win at Old Trafford goes on.

Firmino and Salah combined perfectly for the opener on 18 minutes as the Brazilian’s pass opened up the United defense and the Egyptian provided a dinked finish over Dean Henderson.

United have made a habit of coming from behind to win this season and took just eight minutes to hit back.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer handed Fernandes a rare rest from the start, but still picked a side packed with firepower featuring Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Edinson Cavani and Paul Pogba.

Rashford’s raking cross-field pass just evaded James Milner and Greenwood did not look like a striker lacking confidence as he fired past Alisson Becker for his first goal in 11 games.

A number of injuries to center-backs have disrupted Liverpool’s season with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez expected to miss the rest of the season, while Joel Matip has struggled to stay fit.

Klopp has been forced to field two midfielders in Jordan Henderson and Fabinho together at the heart of the defense in recent weeks and the performance of 19-year-old Rhys Williams showed why the German has been reluctant to rely on his young center-backs.

Williams failed to cut out Greenwood’s through ball for Rashford three minutes into the second half and the England international composed himself before slotting past the advancing Alisson.

This time, United’s momentum was short-lived as Milner should have levelled for Liverpool when he spooned a glorious chance over from close range, but quickly made amends by teeing up Salah to smash home his second just before the hour mark.

Both managers turned to their match winners off the bench for the final half-hour as Klopp first turned to Sadio Mane before Fernandes made his entrance.

Trent Alexander-Arnold stung the palms of Henderson, who then saved twice from Salah as Liverpool’s attack began to click back into gear.

But it was Fernandes who won the game with a brilliant free-kick 12 minutes from time.

This week will be the first anniversary of the Portuguese’s arrival from Sporting Lisbon that has transformed United’s fortunes.

A year ago, United trailed Liverpool by 30 points in the Premier League having played two games more.

The past seven days have shown they are now more than a match for their old rivals.

Fernandes’s strike was a worthy winner of a thrilling tie as he used Pogba to unsight Alisson and fired the ball low into the Brazilian’s left-hand corner.

United will face West Ham in the last 16 next month.