Outspoken Argentine Diego Maradona has criticised compatriot Lionel Messi for his lack of leadership.

The Barcelona star is widely acknowledged as one of the best players in the history of the sport, with the versatile forward continuing to provide masterclasses for the Catalan outfit on an almost weekly occurrence.

However, Messi has struggled to replicate this form for Argentina, with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner not delivering for the South Americans at the World Cup in Russia over the summer.

Maradona led Argentina to the World Cup crown in 1986 and is revered in his homeland as a God due to the feats.

However, with Messi not winning a major competition in Albiceleste colours, the former Boca Juniors and Napoli icon has delivered criticism of his countryman.

“We shouldn’t deify Messi any longer,” Maradona told 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.”

Messi’s most-recent masterclass was in a 4-2 Champions League win against Tottenham, where the Barcelona forward scored twice, hit the post twice and offered up an assist in a man-of-the-match performance.

However, with international silverware eluding him, it remains to be seen whether the Barcelona star will be held in the same regard as Maradona by Argentina fans after he hangs up his boots.


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