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Messi more Argentine than me: Maradona

English.news.cn   2014-06-12 07:08:58

BUENOS AIRES, June 11 (Xinhua) -- 1986 Mexico World Cup champion Diego Armando Maradona told a local daily that fellow-Argentine star footballer Lionel Messi "is more Argentine than me."

According to the Wednesday edition of sports daily Ole, Maradona also said Messi is a better player than Brazilian footballer Neymar.

"The difference between Messi and Neymar is the same as that between Maradona and Pele," the outspoken former player said in Rio de Janeiro, one of 12 Brazilian cities hosting 2014 World Cup games.

In his usual colorful commentary, Maradona said an Argentinean win over Brazil in an eventual final match at the World Cup "would be like an orgasm."

The ex-captain of Argentina's national team said he was received in Brazil "better than Pele," his historical archrival, and joked "you don't have to do much for that."

Asked whether he had recently spoken to Messi, who Maradona coached during the 2010 World Cup, Argentina's football legend said he had not had contact with him "in a long time."

"I would love to talk to him. I would like to tell him to stay calm, to pay no attention to the fools, of which, unfortunately, there are many in Argentina .... But he looks good from a distance," Maradona added.

In reaction to Pele's comment that Messi, who plays as a forward for Spanish team Barcelona, "has a Brazilian playing style," Maradona countered good-humoredly: "Tell Pele to go back to the museum. That 'Lio' is Argentine! Messi is more Argentine than me."

Maradona, who as part of Argentina's national lineup came in second at the 1990 Italy World Cup, said he "liked" the team that Argentina's coach Alejandro Sabella has put together, but "the big problem is the defense and the retreat of the midfielders."

Messi's father Jorge, meanwhile, told media Wednesday his son was "tranquil" and "not under too much pressure."

In an interview with La Red radio, Messi senior said the only thing to do was to calmly wait for Argentina's first game of the World Cup, against Bosnia on Sunday, "without thinking too much."

Asked about his son's repeated bouts of vomiting during games, Jorge Messi said, "he's had this problem for years, they've done the needed medical tests, and there's nothing to worry about."

"It doesn't happen only to him, but also to other great athletes. It has to do a little bit with stress and a little bit with a small problem of the hiatus, which doesn't close well," he added.

Argentina vs Bosnia Sunday at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana Stadium, in an initial game of Group F, which also includes Iran and Nigeria.

Editor: Yang Yi
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