Argentina's 1986 World Cup hero and arguably the greatest footballer of his country, Diego Maradona has asked his heir and present national team skipper Lionel Messi to retire from international football, stating 'blame is pinned at Messi for everything'.
Messi, the highest goalscorer in his country's history, has not featured even once for his national side ever since their exit from the World Cup 2018. While the Barcelona superstar is yet to comment on his future, Maradona believes he should retire once and for all.
Speaking to Clarin, he 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."
"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**k 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," Maradona added.
After Argentina's crushing 4-2 defeat against eventual winners France in the round of 16 of the World Cup 2018, many within the nation pinpointed Messi behind the failure for yet another failure to lift the trophy.
The attack on him was quite similar to the one after the Copa America 2016, in which Argentina reached the final, but lost on penalties to Chile. During then, criticism on Messi was so much that he quit the national team with immediate effect. But a couple of months later, he reversed his decision and returned to the national team fold.
While there may be a lot of questions regarding his international career, Messi keeps on performing day after day for his club Barcelona. Recently, the 31-year-old scored a hat-trick in his side's 4-0 win over PSV Eindhoven in the UEFA Champions League. It was the eighth career hat-trick for the Barcelona skipper in the tournament, and it meant that he surpassed his rival Cristiano Ronaldo in the list of players with the most number of hat-tricks.