El Pelusa sees Messi as central to Argentina's hopes...
Maradona was the outstanding player of the tournament 24 years ago and has now stated that he has told Messi to follow in his footsteps by leading Argentina to glory in South Africa.
"Messi is better than me at World Cup '86. He's the best player in the world and better by far compared to others. In 86, in Mexico, I did it with the ball, I grew up and my team-mates followed. Now I have explained the same to Leo to do it in South Africa and he has understood," Maradona is quoted as saying by Sport before adding that he wants everything to go through Messi at the finals next month.
"It is fortunate that Leo was born in Argentina and I can train him. Whoever does not want to understand that, that it is their problem.
"Messi is well aware that colleagues expect him to be the icing on the cake. He has to be the leader with the ball. We need him to lead by example in the squad and on the pitch.
"He has to be the leader of the ball. When we play football and the ball does not pass through Messi, then ball goes through me but I cannot move so then we are going wrong."