In a scathing remark on Argentina’s recurring woes in global football, former coach and captain of the South American country, Diego Maradona, says he would have loved to see Lionel Messi retire from international duties after Russia 2018.
Image shows Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona at the 2010 World Cup
Maradona, 57, says he is sick and tired of seeing his contemporary take blames for losses which should go to his disenchanted teammates.
According to the football legend, Messi’s decision to take a break from La Albiceleste following a disappointing World Cup in Russia, is a show of undeserved kindness to Argentina.
At the moment, Messi’s position in the Blue and While Stripes is uncertain although Maradona, who is coaching in Mexico now, wants the Barcelona star to tender his official resignation letter and boldly “tell everyone to f*** off.”
‘He [Messi] is not to blame for Argentina’s failure to become world champions…It’s unfair that he shoulders the blame whenever things go wrong,’ Maradona said.
Before losing to France at the Group of 16, Argentina struggled through their group stage as second runner-up behind Croatia, sending Nigeria and Iceland out of the fiercely-contested global football tournament.
Jorge Sampaoli, who led Messi and his teammates to Russia 2018, lost his job for the poor showing and did not take part in their subsequent international friendlies against Columbia and Guatemela in September.
Although the coach was blamed, in part, for the terrible loss against Les Blues, Maradona advised Messi to retire once again like he did in 2016.
Speaking in an interview with C Larin, Maradona (manager of Mexican 2nd Division club, Dorados) said: ‘What would I tell Messi? To not come back any more. To retire…The Under 15s lose and it is Messi’s fault, the fixture list in Argentina puts Racing against Boca and Messi is to blame. He is always to blame. Stop breaking my balls.’
He continued, ‘I would tell him: “Don’t go anymore, man”. Let’s see if they can handle that. Let’s see if they’re really big men.
‘I would have liked to see him tell us all to f*** off. Because he is not to blame for us not being world champions. Fine, we all placed our hopes in him, but when you go to the racetrack you hope your horse wins and he comes in eighth.
‘In Formula One Vettel has a great engine and Hamilton beats him. Right now the national team doesn’t do anything for me or for the people. We have lost that – the passion. It cannot play against Nicaragua or Malta, no, brother. We are throwing all the prestige we earned down the toilet.’