Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona never seem to have the smoothest of relationships. The former best player in the world is a harsh critic of arguably the current one.
This was underlined by Maradona slamming the Barcelona captain in an interview last year – and he just can’t seem to let it lie.
After being released from hospital after an emergency operation to repair some internal bleeding, Maradona continued to target Messi.
“I love Messi with all my heart,” he told Argentine newspaper ‘Olé’ this week.
“They want to make him a leader but he isn’t able to do that because he’s going to be in his sporting world and with his family,”
This echoes what was said last year.
Maradona caused consternation by claiming the Barcelona forward played differently when he was representing the Spanish side and said it was a waste of time trying to turn him into a leader “because he goes to the toilet 20 times before a match.”
The football legend, who is idolised in Argentina because of his performances for his nation, also insisted he would not call the 31-year-old up for international duty if he was made manager of the national team again.
His astonishing attack was made during an interview on Fox Sports.
Messi’s cousin Maxi Biancucchi reacted by branding Maradona, who has battled weight problems as well as addictions to drugs and alcohol, “ignorant” over his comments.
Speaking after the comments, Maradona’s lawyer Matias Morla said: “What Diego wanted to say was, ‘Don’t keep on at Messi about him needing to be a leader.’
“That was the meaning of what he said. Messi is not a leader.
“He’s in Barcelona playing in a team where everyone is playing well and as a team and that’s it.
“Everyone’s saying Diego was criticising Messi but it’s not true. Maradona has a way of speaking and he put that phrase about the toilet out there, partly guided by the Mexican journalist who was interviewing him and it created this situation.
“Tomorrow Maradona is going to call Messi, not to say sorry but to explain to him that what he meant to say was that they shouldn’t be putting so much pressure on him, on the contrary.”
Maradona said he’d make a peace call to Messi after a bizarre attack from the Argentina legend in which he accused the Barcelona star of going to the toilet “20 times” before international matches.