'Messi has it tougher than Maradona' - Barcelona star lacks Argentina support, says Caniggia

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A modern day legend will be hoping to emulate the achievements of an iconic fellow countryman by securing World Cup glory in Russia this summer

Lionel Messi has it tougher with Argentina than Diego Maradona did, says Claudio Caniggia ahead of the Barcelona superstar’s next shot at World Cup glory.

Despite collecting an enviable haul of major honours at club level, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner is still waiting on a first senior international trophy with his country.

Messi has come close in World Cup and Copa America competition, but has endured heartache in each of his final outings to date.

As a result, he is yet to emulate the achievements of iconic countryman Maradona – who inspired Argentina to global glory in 1986 – and truly cement a standing as the greatest of all time.

Caniggia, who played alongside Maradona at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, believes Messi’s task is made all the more difficult when representing the Albiceleste as he does not boast the same backing as a legendary predecessor in the No. 10 shirt.

“Messi doesn’t get the same support from his teammates as Maradona did. I think that’s true,” a forward who earned 50 caps for his country told FIFA’s official website.

While conceding that Messi is often expected to carry the weight of expectation by himself, Caniggia feels that Argentina do have the firepower to challenge in Russia this summer.

Jorge Sampaoli’s side are not considered to be among the favourites, but they will be able to call upon the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria.

Caniggia added on the class of 2018: “What’s in our favour is that the best attacking players can put fear into anyone.

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“Their names alone unsettle the opposition. The other teams don’t think: ‘Higuain is being criticised in Argentina’. They think: ‘He’s Juventus’ top goalscorer’.

“Our weak point is that we’re still not solid at the back, and there are still a couple of places up for grabs.”

Argentina will open their World Cup 2018 campaign against Iceland on June 16 before going on to face Croatia and Nigeria in Group D.

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