Lionel Messi: a genius on the football field, but a born leader? The question marks over Messi’s commitment to his country continue to hang around the Barcelona star’s neck like his unwanted collection of tournament silver medals. The comparisons to Albiceleste legend Diego Maradona have added insult to Messi’s international failings – and now the Argentinian icon has stuck the knife even further into his countryman…
Maradona was picked-up on a concealed microphone discussing the failings of Lionel Messi with Brazil legend Pele at a publicity event on Thursday in Paris.
The ever-outspoken Maradona claimed that Messi is not properly equipped to be a leader, suggesting the forward lacked the character and personality to be a leader – a sentiment shared, if a little reluctantly, by fellow World Cup winner Pele.
Pele asked Maradona directly whether if he knew his compatriot personally, prompting Maradona to offer an unguarded response.
“He’s a really good person, but he has no personality,”
“He lacks [the] character to be a leader.”
“Ah, I get it, he’s not like we were back in the days. In the 70s we [Brazil] had really good players like Rivellino, Gerson, Tostao.
“Not like Argentina now, which depends only on Messi. You’re saying that Messi is a good player, there’s no doubt about that, but he has no personality.”
Strong words indeed from the South American footballing icons.
Is Messi A Weak Captain?
The 28-year-olds international finals record makes for grim viewing having lost twice in the final of the Copa America and once in the World Cup. The relatively unimportant Olympic gold medal in 2008 remains his only significant international honour.
There’s certainly been an element of bad luck involved in Messi’s silverware drought as captain and you don’t necessarily need character and personality to be a strong leader – but it certainly helps.
But what perhaps even more peculiar – is that it was Maradona’s decision to make Messi captain for Argentina ahead of the 2010 World Cup, when he was just 22 back then. Personalities aren’t something a player can work on, it’s the quintessential aspect that moulds you as a player.
It seems more than a little divisive for Maradona to make such bold remarks because if he doesn’t have character now; he certainly didn’t have any when Maradona made him captain six years ago.