Mascherano: Messi Can Handle The No. 10 Shirt

The captain of the Argentine national team reckons little Leo can handle the responsibility of sporting Diego Maradona's old number on his back.
Javier Mascherano believes that Lionel Messi can cope with wearing Argentina's No. 10 shirt, which has no owner after Juan Roman Riquelme decided to quit the national team.

"The decision is of the coach, but Messi can easily wear that shirt- because of the number- but there are also other players who can wear it," said Mascherano.

Earlier in the week, Albicelestes boss Diego Maradona stated that either Messi, Juan Sebastian Veron, Daniel Montenegro or Carlos Tevez would be chosen to wear the shirt that he used during his glorious 21-year career.

The favourite to don the fabled strip on his back when Argentina face Venezuela in a World Cup qualifier on Saturday is, of course, Barcelona superstar Messi.

Mascherano also spoke about Riquelme's decision to retire from the national team after the much-publicised conflict with Maradona.

"I spoke with Roman, what we spoke about won't go public, but I know it is a personal decision. I have a good relationship with him, we spoke about other things as well, but I don't want to get involved, because it doesn't concern me directly," he said.

In reference to the match with Venezuela, the Liverpool midfielder insisted it wouldn't be as straightforward as expected.

"All of the rivals who face Argentina give a little extra, and because of this they are very difficult, and I don't think there are any exceptions," he concluded.

Gregory Sica,