Football legend Diego Maradona believes Nigeria’s 4-2 win over Argentina in a friendly encounter has exposed the two-time World Champions declaring nobody is afraid of them. Concerns about Argentina’s strength in depth were laid bare once more as they surrendered a 2-0 lead to lose 4-2 to the Super Eagles in Krasnodar in November.
“We have no midfield deserving of the name,” he told El Popular “Today, except for Lionel Messi, people have lost respect for the Argentina team. Nobody is afraid of us. Look at the last game with Nigeria. We almost conceded eight goals. You know what happened in my time in a game like that. “But Sampaoli is lucky. If the baby [Messi] is on fire, he will cover for all the mistakes. “We have a 60 per cent chance of being champions [at the World Cup]. Why? Because the others can make up the choir, but they can never replace him as the singer. He’s the only singer.
“It hurts me a lot, but the reality is that it’s going badly for us and I can’t see a way out. The title would be: ‘After Messi, what next? After Messi, there is nothing…’” Maradona thinks part of the problem is a desperate search for a regular number nine and cannot understand why Sampaoli prefers Inter captain Mauro Icardi to Juventus’ Gonzalo Higuain. “It’s embarrassing to rely on Icardi. Pipa [Higuain] is 10 times better than Icardi,” he said. “That guy [Sampaoli] doesn’t know anything. The only thing he knows is what he’s going to eat at his friend’s house. Pipa has to have a new chance.”