By Jack Malone

Argentinian legend Daniel Passarella believes that Lionel Messi should be removed as captain of the national side as he lacks the “personality” required as a leader.

The 63-year-old, who captained his nation to glory at the 1978 World Cup, has raised eyebrows by suggesting that Everton centre-back Ramiro Funes Mori should replace the talismanic forward.

“I think Argentina already have a great leader, which is Ramiro Funes Mori. He should be the captain,” Passarella told Chilean newspaper El Mercurio.

“I admire Messi, but I think his personality, his way of being, is withdrawn and timid.”

Passarella is regarded as a true great in Argentina, having been part of both of their World Cup winning sides in 1978 and 1986, as well as managing the team from 1994-1998.

A no-nonsense defender in his day, the former River Plate star racked up 70 international caps, scoring 22 goals in the process, a remarkable record for a centre-half.

His comments will no doubt be a big confidence boost for Funes Mori, who has struggled to nail down a starting spot at Goodison Park this season.

The 25-year-old followed in Passarella’s footsteps by moving to Europe from Los Millonarios in 2015, joining Everton for around £11 million and making 28 Premier League appearances in his debut season.

However, he has started only three of ten league matches this campaign meaning calls for him to skipper the Argentina team may be slightly premature.

It would certainly be a brave man to strip Messi of the captaincy and risk upsetting a player who only recently reversed his decision to retire from the international game.

The Barcelona star is widely regarded as the greatest player of all time, but he has yet to emulate Passarella’s achievements by lifting a major trophy for his native country.


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