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Dirty Tackle

Maradona: ‘This can’t be Team Messi’

Dirty Tackle
Former Argentine soccer player Maradona attends a news conference in Rome
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Former Argentine soccer player Diego Maradona reacts during a news conference at the European Parliament …

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Like the quipping of Landon Donovan after every U.S. World Cup match, viewers can hear Diego Maradona discussing Argentina’s matches every night on his program “De Zurda” with Victor Hugo Morales on the channel Telesur on Argentinian television.

The match against Switzerland left Maradona unimpressed, and the former World Cup champion had no problem voicing his opinions on a number of players, including Messi and Di Maria. He even asked for the removal of Pipita Higuain. As part of his duties as a commentator, Maradona added his thoughts on Argentina’s next opponent, Belgium.

[Related: Messi's grandfather unconvinced by his performance]

Here are some of the excerpts from his show:

On the team overall: “I have bitterness, anger and rage because Argentina’s team should be playing much better and we are still struggling. Some players are playing so lazily in this tournament and the World Cup is not a place to be lazy. You have to fight and win and win big. Argentina is playing at 40 percent; there are some players that haven’t even started playing at the World Cup level they should be at.”

On Mascherano: “He is a superb player. He has shown great physical abilities and has communicated a lot with Messi… I’m very impressed.”

[Related: Maradona claims FIFA banned him from stadium]

On the team’s dependence on Messi: “These players have to get it in their heads that this can’t be ‘Team Messi’ because Leo might be able to score amazing goals, but if everyone else doesn’t follow through, everything else will fall apart and that will be the cause of Argentina’s demise. The team played badly during the group stage and the game against Switzerland wasn’t any different.”

On Di Maria playing on the right: “I’ve talked and complained numerous times about the fact that Di Maria should be playing on the right and today he finally played on that side and he helped the team move on.”

[Video: Di Maria goal creates explosive celebration]

On Belgium: “They are at a higher level than Switzerland is and if Argentina doesn’t wake up and work harder, it’s going to be a very difficult game for them.”

Maradona sure has a lot on his mind and if Argentina doesn’t win against Belgium, the world will surely have to deal with more rants from the former World Cup player.

This is a translation of a Yahoo Sports en Espanol article seen here.

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