Diego Maradona feels Argentina are over reliant on Lionel Messi and that they need to improve drastically in order to progress further in the tournament.
Argentina face Belgium in their quarter-final clash at the World Cup as they look to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1990. But La Albiceleste legend Diego Maradona feels that the team needs to show drastic improvement in order to defeat Belgium in their next match.
Argentina boasted of having the best strike force among all the teams heading into the World Cup, at least on paper. Yet they have struggled to put teams away so far and have been far from convincing. Argentina has had to depend on the brilliance of Lionel Messi to pull them through against Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria, while it took 118 minutes for them to find the back of the net in their round of 16 clash against Switzerland – which once again arrived with Messi making a wonderful run and setting up Di Maria to finish.
Argentina have scored seven goals in their four matches so far and the Barcelona star has provided four of them, along with an assist. In fact Angel Di Maria and left back Marcos Rojo are the only goal scorers for the South American giants.
Diego Maradona, whose individual brilliance won Argentina their last World Cup, in 1986, has insisted that the team is too reliant on Messi to deliver and that they need to start playing as a unit in order to progress further in the tournament.
“We still haven’t got started. They need to get it into their heads that we can’t be ‘Sporting Messi’.
“Maybe he can score a great goal, but if it doesn’t come off for the kid, we can’t jump on him tomorrow as if he’s guilty of the Argentine disaster.” – Maradona said in an interview.
Maradona, who was the manager of Argentina in the last World Cup, also feels that they have a much better side on paper, man-for-man, but expressed his frustration about the team not performing to their potential.
“Man-for-man, and collectively, Argentina are better (than Belgium). They (the Swiss) may make good watches but they have few footballers.
“The kid (Messi) is very alone… the team doesn’t have a change of rhythm, movements in its strikers.
“I feel something very strong inside, like bitterness, rage, frustration, because Argentina can play much, much better…the coach has to impose this.” – He added.