Maradona: Do not blame Messi if Argentina does not win World Cup

The former tournament winner has insisted that the prolific attacker is not solely responsible for what the South Americans achieve in Brazil
Argentina legend Diego Maradona has stressed that it would be unfair to blame Barcelona star Lionel Messi if the Albiceleste do not win the 2014 World Cup.

The 26-year-old has received his fair share of criticism for his inability to replicate his club form for the national team in the past - though he put in a number of impressive performances for Argentina in 2012 and 2013 - and failed to guide his country beyond the quarterfinals in 2010.

Nevertheless, Maradona has insisted that Messi cannot be held responsible for Argentina's results and is confident that the Barca forward will do well in Brazil later this year.

"The one thing that I can say is that if we do not win the World Cup, we should not blame Messi for it," Maradona said on Argentine television.

"I am convinced that Leo will play well at this summer's tournament."

Argentina last won the World Cup in 1986 when Maradona captained the nation to a 3-2 win over West Germany in the final.