The Barcelona superstar has long been compared to his predecessor in the Albiceleste No. 10 shirt, and certainly in terms of club honours won, Messi has far surpassed his counterpart.
However, he is still yet to win a senior international honour with Argentina, and was part of the losing team in the 2015 Copa America final when Gerardo Martino’s side lost on penalties to Jorge Sampaoli’s Chile.
The Barca star came in for criticism following that performance, with some of his countrymen unable to understand the disconnect between his glistening performances at club level and his occasionally ineffectual showings with the national side [Daily Mail].
Maradona—who won the World Cup with Argentina in 1986—has stated that he can understand why Messi receives criticism, and tacitly supported those who are unconvinced by the 28-year-old.
“It’s logical that he’s come in for criticism, it’s easy to explain,” Maradona began, speaking to Ole [via Marca].
“We’ve got the best player in the world, who goes and scores four goals against Real Sociedad, and then he comes here and doesn’t touch the ball.
“You’re left saying to yourself, ‘Damn it, are you Argentine or Swedish?'”
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At international level, Messi has only an Olympic gold medal and an U20 World Cup title to show for his 103-cap career.
His underwhelming international career comes in stark contrast to his glistening showings at club level, with the forward having won seven La Liga titles, four Champions League crowns, and a whole host of other domestic and continental honours.