Martino backs Messi

Martino backs Messi after Maradona’s criticism

Chicago (Illinois), June 10 (IANS) Argentina coach Gerardo Martino on Friday contradicted Argentine legend Diego Maradona saying that their current poster boy Lionel Messi is a great leader on the pitch.

Argentina skipper Messi was subjected to criticism from Maradona on Thursday who said that the FC Barcelona icon “lacks (the) character to be a leader”.

“He’s (Messi) a really good person, but he has no personality. He lacks (the) character to be a leader,” Maradona had said in Paris on Thursday.

When asked to comment on the statement made by Maradona, Martino said he had nothing to add on this because he fully believes in Messi’s abilities.

“I don’t have anything to say,” Martino was quoted as saying by goal.com on Friday.

The Argentina coach however, went on to say that Messi’s leadership style was very different from someone like team-mate Javier Mascherano.

“Mascherano’s impact as a leader is more important inside the squad, and Messi’s leadership is more important in the pitch,” said Martino.

“Teams always have natural leaders on the pitch and natural leaders in footballing terms.”

Argentina face Panama in a Copa America Centenario match on Saturday.

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