BUENOS AIRES - Soccer legend Diego Maradona has praised his compatriot Lionel Messi, and talked up the chances of Argentina winning the World Cup.
"To beat Brazil in the final, in their own country, would be an orgasm," the controversial 1980s star told Buenos Aires newspaper Ole.
When Maradona was told that Pele — his historic Brazilian archrival — had said that Messi had a "Brazilian style", the 1986 World Cup winner shouted: "Pele should go back in the museum! Messi is Argentinian! In fact, he's even more Argentinian than I am!"
These words from Maradona will come as a timely support for Messi, who has been criticized in Argentina recently for playing better for Barcelona than for his national team — and even for not singing the national anthem before matches.
"The truth is that I have not spoken to Lio (Messi) for a while. I'd really like to now. I'd like to tell him to take things easy, not to listen to the idiots. There are a lot of them, unfortunately," said Maradona.
"I see Messi well. I think it was good for him to have a proper rest (from November to February, due to injury) because he had gone four years without hardly missing a match.