Diego Maradona has again questioned whether Lionel Messi is the right man to captain Argentina, but insisted it is not a criticism or a reflection on the forward’s ability.
In a discussion with Pele, Maradona stated a belief that Messi had “no personality” and lacked the character to be a great leader.
The 1986 World Cup winner stood by his comments but attempted to play down the inflammatory nature of them, claiming it was not a personal attack.
“I still think the same thing I told Pele,” Maradona told Diario Popular. “But I do not want it to look like a criticism. It is not so.
“The boy [Messi] they want as a leader and leaders are made alone.”
Although Messi came off the bench to score a hat trick for Argentina in the 5-0 Copa America Centenario win against Panama, Maradona believes the captaincy could be weighing him down.
He added: “If you demand Leo plays with his right [leg], he will play poorly. You have to let him play.”