Signs bad for Messi's last chance to emulate Maradona

Lynette Rowe
June 21, 2018

'In Argentina they know that Maradona is light years away from the best Argentine player in history, which for me is Lionel Messi, ' said Ramos. We very much have him in mind.

However, Sergio Ramos - who has faced Messi on countless occasions with both Real Madrid and Spain - does not agree with the argument that Maradona is still Argentina's best ever player until Messi manages to win the World Cup.

"I told him "This is the World Cup of 40 million [Argentinians]".

But it became harder in the 64th minute of Argentina's opener, when his tame penalty was saved by Iceland's goalkeeper - watched inevitably by Maradona who had lapped up to adoring cries of "Dieeeeego!" beforehand.

"But tell me: who helped him against Iceland?".

Previously, he threatened he wanted retire from global football in June 2016 after the Copa America final loss to Chile, but later made a U-turn claiming it was a "heat-of-the-moment" decision.

"It's silly. Messi is good but he's never won the World Cup".

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"I am experiencing this period with the national team in a different way".

Messi arrived at the last World Cup finals in Brazil suffering from fatigue after a season of high-octane action with Barcelona and Sampaoli staged a meeting with his skipper last January to try and avoid a repeat. "He more than anyone would give everything for this to be his World Cup".

"I see Leo well, just like the rest of my teammates, eager to hit back, to do things well in our next game and to work", Mercado said at a news conference in Moscow. Messi is a fantastic player.

The Barcelona great has often had a turbulent relationship with the Argentine media.

And the 63-year-old believes that, although there is enough individual talent in the national set-up, their inability to play as a team has cost them greatly. We had to play with that in mind. "You made a mistake, I made a mistake, we all made a mistake".

"Now we are here, we are in Russian Federation, we have to try and do everything we can to win the World Cup for Argentina, for ourselves, for Messi".

Argentina lost three straight finals at major competitions in a three-year span - the 2014 World Cup against Germany and the second and third at the Copa America the following two years.

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