The Albiceleste legend believes the 26-year-old is his true heir and is ready to bring home the trophy for the first time since 1986 ahead of the tournament starting on ThursdayDiego Maradona has told Lionel Messi to go out and win the World Cup for Argentina and enjoy the adulation of his people for the rest of his life.
The 26-year-old featured at both the 2006 and 2010 editions of the competition but failed to shine as the South Americans were eliminated by Germany on both occasions.
|WORLD CUP LATEST
|15/2||Lionel Messi is 15/2 with bet365 to be the World Cup top scorer|
"There were too many footballers in Argentina who were named the second Diego," he wrote in the Times of India.
"Leo is the only one with whom I find so many similarities. Come on Leo, do it for us! 1986 happened 28 years ago.
"We all are waiting to be crowned [world champions] again. And I know you can do it. Hit the 'goalazo' my boy and enjoy the adulation of the country for the rest of your life!
"Leo shares so many similarities with me. I was there in Spain in the 1982 World Cup as a rookie and Leo played the same role in 2010.
In Mexico, I was the captain and in Brazil, Leo will lead the Albiceleste. I was 25-plus in 1986, while Leo will celebrate his 27th birthday during the World Cup in Brazil.
"Moreover, Leo's season for Barcelona was not a particularly good one. They could not qualify for the Champions League semi-final.
"It might be a blessing in disguise for Leo and his Barcelona team-mates who will play in the World Cup, since they have got some much needed rest.
"Brazil, beware! Here comes Lionel Messi! This boy is a genius and I have been saying this for many years."