12 Jun 2014

Maradona praises Messi, hits out at Pele

5:58 am on 12 June 2014

The football legend Diego Maradona has praised his compatriot Lionel Messi, and talked up the chances of Argentina winning the World Cup.

The outspoken and controversial 1980's star says, "to beat Brazil in the final, in their own country, would be an orgasm."

When Maradona was told that Pele - his historic Brazilian arch-rival - had said that Messi had a "Brazilian style", the 1986 World Cup winner shouted: "Pele should go back in the museum! Messi is Argentinian! In fact, he's even more Argentinian than I am!"

These words from Maradona will come as a timely support for Messi, who has been criticized in Argentina recently for playing better for Barcelona than for his national team - and even for not singing the national anthem before matches.

Finally, Maradona insisted that Messi was a better player than Brazil ace Neymar, saying: "The distance between Messi and Neymar is the same as the one between Maradona and Pele."