Messi - No Maradona row
Argentina star Lionel Messi insists he has a 'fantastic' working relationship with Diego Maradona.
By Lucas Brown
Last Updated: 23/09/09 2:38pm
Argentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi insists he has a 'fantastic' working relationship with Diego Maradona and has hit back at critics of his international form.
Messi has been infuriated by accusations that he has fallen out with national team boss Maradona during a stuttering World Cup qualification campaign.
After two defeats in September, Argentina have slipped to fifth in the South American qualifying zone and reports have surfaced that Messi and Maradona are not talking.
But Messi is adamant that he is still on good terms with Maradona and that the manager works well with the rest of the squad.
"It is not true that he does not speak to me," Messi told Argentinian radio.
"Our relationship is fantastic and he is great with all the players."
Cynics have accused Messi of not producing his club form when he plays for Argentina, but the playmaker says that a lack of practice hinders the team.
"You cannot compare because at Barcelona we train together every day and with the national team it is difficult to come together for two games and play very well," he said.
"It is true that at Barcelona I have great players next to me but there are also great players in the national team who can play like we do at Barcelona.
"But I cannot win a game on my own, far from it. It is the responsibility of the whole team and we have to go out to win every match."
Accusations that Argentina's European-based players are only motivated by money and are letting the national team down have also angered Messi.
"To say that is horrendous. We all feel the shirt and nobody likes to lose, even less so with the national team," he added.
"Saying it has to do with money is wrong. If we did not feel the shirt then we would not make the effort to play for Argentina and travel to Australia or wherever the team is playing.
"If it was an economic thing then every player would stay at home. The players in Europe all travel to play.
"Sadly the results are not going well and we are not playing well, but that will change.
"We cannot continue to talk all this rubbish. We have to remain calm. This is a country that loves football and we have to stick together."