Maradona jumps to Messi’s defence

Diego Maradona has pleaded with press and fans in Argentina to cut out their criticism of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, or risk losing him for good.

Messi, who scored a stunning hat-trick in Argentina’s 4-3 friendly victory against Brazil on Saturday, has been criticised in his homeland for not singing the national anthem, prompting a typically fiery response from Argentina legend Maradona.

“Stop talking about how [Messi] doesn’t know the national anthem, enough,” said the Al Wasl manager, speaking on holiday in Argentina.

“If you keep busting his balls he’ll stay in Barcelona and won’t come back to Argentina anymore,” he continued.

“He doesn’t have the same leadership as me, he doesn’t have Brad Pitt’s face and he doesn’t have [Luciana] Salazar’s backside, but he is Argentinian and we have to defend him,” added the former Argentina coach.

“God willing, Messi is going to give us a World Cup”

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