The 1978 World Cup winner says the pressure for the Barcelona forward to perform is huge, but stresses that he will benefit from a stronger squad than seen in previous tournaments
Maradona captained the South American nation to glory at the 1986 World Cup as they overcame West Germany 3-2 in the final, winning the Fifa Golden Ball as the tournament's best player in the process.
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"There is a lot of expectation on Messi," the 61-year-old wrote in his column for the Times of India.
"Everyone talks about how Maradona made the 1986 edition his own, and all expect Messi to do the same. But Messi has a better team than Maradona did in 1986 and luckily for him, he has people like Sergio Aguero and Angel di Maria alongside him.
"All the top players in the world today, whether it is Cristiano Ronaldo, Arjen Robben or Robin van Persie, play under huge pressure. How they handle it is what matters. Despite the pressure they still have to go out there and do their job."
Alejandro Sabella's men begin their Group F campaign against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Sunday and Ardiles has warned the squad against underestimating the World Cup debutants.
"Argentina are one of the clear favourites and as they go into their first match with Bosnia," he continued.
"The odds are in favour of Argentina winning. This is Bosnia's first match on such a big stage and they are sure to be a bit nervous. I'm also sure that they will come in with quite a defensive plan, and play for a draw if they can. They know that they have to contain the Argentinean attack, especially Messi.
"I don't think they are going to be easy at all. In fact I know their manager Safet Sucic. We played together at Paris Saint-Germain in 1992. He was a wonderful centre-forward. Very, very talented and well organised and I am sure that he is going to try and make the game very difficult for Argentina indeed.
"Argentina fans would love to see their team lift the cup, more so because they would be doing so in their arch-rivals' backyard. So there is enormous pressure on Messi and Co."