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Sunday, Oct 20, 2019

Diego Maradona reveals one advice he gave Lionel Messi as Argentina manager that turned him into goal machine

Lionel Messi, who plays for Barcelona, is one of the highest goal scorer for Barcelona.

football Updated: Sep 09, 2019 17:05 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Argentina's head coach Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi.
Argentina's head coach Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi.(Getty Images)

If Lionel Messi is Argentina’s present, then Diego Maradona is the nation’s past. It was Maradona who led Argentina to World Cup title in 1986 with a win over West Germany in the final. Messi, despite not being able to lead his nation to international title, is now regarded as one of the modern greats in the sport. He scored 136 goals for the senior Argentina side in 68 appearances, and is also the leading goal scorer for Barcelona with over 550 goals.

Maradona, who managed Messi during his short term as Argentina manager between 2010 and 2012, revealed what he told the forward when he played under him.

At a press conference after becoming the new head coach of Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata, Maradona said: “At the World Cup where I was the coach (of Argentina), I took charge of the best version of Messi. I’ll tell everyone that. He was incredible. After training had finished, we stayed behind to practice shooting. That’s when he started taking more shots at goal. Not because I showed him how to! I only said: ‘You need to hit it into the middle’,” he added whilst laughing. “Now he scores all the time!”

On being questioned about his time as Argentina manager, Maradona added: “Whoever said they were a friend of mine, lied to me. It took a long time for me to recover from that and want to be a coach again. I felt like the people wanted me to be the head coach of the World champions.”

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Friday the Spanish giants are not worried about Lionel Messi’s future, despite the Argentinian star being able to leave the club at the end of the season. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner signed a new four-year deal with Barca in 2017, but Bartomeu says he is free to end his contract beforehand. “Leo Messi has a contract through to the 2020/21 season, but the player is able to leave Barca before the final season,” Bartomeu told Barcelona’s in-house television channel.

“It’s the same case as with the final contracts that Xavi, (Carles) Puyol and (Andres) Iniesta had. They are players who deserve that liberty, and we shouldn’t worry, as they are very committed to Barca.

First Published: Sep 09, 2019 17:04 IST

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