Messi backs Batista to replace Maradona | sports | Hindustan Times
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Messi backs Batista to replace Maradona

sports Updated: Aug 31, 2010 22:12 IST

Lionel Messi is the latest Argentine player to come out in support of interim national team coach Sergio Batista, who seems likely to be given the job permanently to replace Diego Maradona.

Arriving in Buenos Aires for Argentina's friendly next week against Spain, Messi told reporters that he wanted Batista to stay on in the job. The sentiment was echoed by Argentina's other top striker Carlos Tevez, who arrived in Buenos Aires a few hours earlier.

Tevez urged Argentine football officials to quickly name a permanent replacement for Maradona, who was dropped as the national team coach after Argentina's 4-0 loss to Germany in the World Cup quarterfinals. Batista was in charge in Argentina's 1-0 victory over Ireland on Aug. 11 and will be on the bench against Spain.