Crespo: Messi is not Maradona

Lionel Messi is not Diego Maradona and needs support if Argentina are to win the World Cup, according to Hernan Crespo.

Messi had 11 shots without scoring - setting a new Argentina record for the World Cup - and was dejected at the final whistle.   -  AFP

Former Argentina striker Hernan Crespo has jumped to the defence of Lionel Messi, saying he needs help from his team-mates to win the World Cup in Russia.

The Barcelona superstar endured a difficult opening game at the tournament on Saturday, missing a penalty in his side's surprising 1-1 draw with Group D rivals Iceland.

Messi had 11 shots without scoring - setting a new Argentina record for the World Cup - and was dejected at the final whistle.

Crespo - who won 64 caps for Argentina - has criticised Messi's colleagues and believes they need to provide the 30-year-old with more support.

 

"Let's start with a fact: Messi deserves a five [for his performance]," Crespo told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Of course, we expect more from him, but Messi is not [Diego] Maradona, alone he does not win a World Cup. This must be understood first by all Argentinians, and then by his team-mates. He is a phenomenon if he is put in the right conditions, like in Barcelona. Otherwise he is struggling."

"But tell me: who helped him against Iceland? [Angel] Di Maria did not get past his opponent once, the midfielders did not support him."

Messi will be looking to bounce back when Argentina takes on Croatia - who defeated Nigeria 2-0 on Saturday - at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Thursday.

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