The 1986 World Cup winner has warned critics of the mercurial star that he may never return to his homeland, and also compared him to a South American supermodel
Maradona compared the Barcelona ace's attributes with his own, as well as those of Brad Pitt and Argentine model Luciana Salazar, and warned that those ostracising the player back in his homeland risk losing his talent for good.
"[Messi does] do not have the leadership that I had, or the face of Brad Pitt or Salazar's ass, but he is Argentine and must be defended," he told reporters.
"If you keep breaking his balls he is going to stay in Barcelona and will not come again."
Maradona and and current club Al Wasl have hit the headlines in Dubai in recent weeks, after the Argentine decided to ban goalkeeper Majed Nasar for the whole of next season.
Nasar was sent off after hitting an opponent as his side lost the two-legged GCC Champions League final on penalties last Sunday.