Diego Maradona out of the headlines, however the former Napoli star has been incredibly critical of the current Argentina national setup, suggesting that the team have lost a lot of respect, with Lionel Messi the exception.
Jorge Sampaoli’s time in charge of the national team has been a mixed bag, as results haven’t been overly positive and it was only a Messi masterclass which ensured the team would be in Russia for the World Cup.
“Except for Messi, the world has lost respect for Argentina,” he explained in an interview with Diario Popular.
“What bothers me is that today it’s very hard for Argentina to be respected, as nobody is afraid of us.
“In the last match against Nigeria we almost conceded eight goals.”
He continued on his rant, suggesting that Sampaoli’s choice of forward is one of the biggest mistakes of the coach’s tenure.
“It’s embarrassing to rely on Mauro Icardi for the World Cup, as Higuain is 10 times better,” he intimated.
“It’s clear the boy [Sampaoli] doesn’t know anything, the only thing he knows is what he’s going to eat at his friends’ house.
“We are clutching at straws to get a No.9 when Carlos Tevez has incredible ability.”
It seems as though some of the bad blood between the former Sevilla coach and Maradona actually stems from his time in Andalusia.
“We had a project with Sampaoli at Sevilla, he called me and was desperate so I told him to call me when he was in Dubai,” he detailed.
“He then said Sevilla wanted to pay tribute to me, why?
“Don’t mess with me; I played only three matches in Sevilla.
“It didn’t make sense, what happened is that he had everything arranged with the national team and wanted to use me for the photo.”
Argentina will be in Spain soon, taking on La Roja at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on March 27.