Diego Maradona criticises Lionel Messi's leadership

REX Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates scoring his sides third goal to make the scoreline 1-3- Tottenham Hotspur v Barcelona UEFA Champions League Wembley Stadium London- 3rd October 2018 Totten

Messi at Barcelona is one thing and with Argentina he is another one.

Barcelona are reportedly already planning a new contract for forward Lionel Messi, despite the Argentine still having just under three years remaining on his deal.

It rules out the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain luring him from the Nou Camp but it does mean Messi would be able to do what Xavi and Iniesta, now playing in Qatar and Japan respectively, have both done in their post-Barcelona careers.

Maradona told The Last Word Mexico (via The Mirror): 'Messi is a great player but he doesn't get it. "You say to Messi to 'throw yourself in head first" but he prefers to play videogames'.

"He's a great player but he's not a leader".

'For me, it's hard to say it but it's useless to make a leader out of a man who goes to the toilet 20 times before a game.

That comment was believed to refer to Messi's extreme nerves before games, which have seen him vomit ahead of some important matches.

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At 31 years of age and having spent more than a decade as an elite performer in the global game, the five-time Ballon d'Or victor is accustomed to shouldering pressure and expectation.

But he has struggled to reproduce the same scintillating form when wearing the blue and white shirt of Argentina.

The World Cup victor was speaking about the Argentina national team and discussed the No.10, suggesting that Messi's pre-match behaviour should rule him out of a leadership role.

"I wouldn't call up Messi, but never say never".

Argentina beat Iraq 4-0 on Thursday with a new-look side, taking their unbeaten run since Russian Federation to three games. Then, on the field, he wants to be the leader.

A sterner test will take place on Tuesday when they face Brazil in Saudi Arabia - without Messi.

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