Man City boss Guardiola open to Serie A move

Argentina legend Diego Maradona on Sunday lashed out at compatriot Lionel Messi, saying the Barcelona star is not a leader on the pitch for Argentina and should not be considered a football god.

"Messi's a great player, but he's not a leader", Maradona said to La Ultima Palabra Mexico on Fox Sports. You say to Messi to "throw yourself in head first" but he prefers to play video games.

Guardiola, who extended his contract with City through the end of the 2020-21 season in May, played for both Brescia and Roma in Serie A and was in Italy over the weekend to participate in the Festival dello Sport, where he was asked whether he could imagine returning as a coach one day.

However, Messi's cousin, Maxi Biancucchi have had enough of Maradona's jibe and made a decision to respond to his latest comments.

Caretaker coach Lionel Scaloni remains hopeful the Barcelona skipper will eventually end his self-imposed exile, but Maradona is less convinced of the 31-year-old's present value to the team.

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Meanwhile, Guardiola thinks fans are lucky to see Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo play at the same time as each other.

"He is the best in the world along with Cristiano, (but) it's useless to make a leader of a guy who goes to the bathroom 20 times before a game". "Messi is Messi when he wears that shirt and he's another Messi with Argentina".

Do you think Messi should retire from worldwide football? "We have to take the pressure off him", Maradona, 57, said from the Mexican state of Sinaloa, where he coaches second-tier side Dorados. "We wait for him and we know what is most important for us".

Biancucchi said, "It's sad to see how someone who boasts of being a leader can talk so badly about a player who's now the best we've got and will probably be so for a long time yet". He added: "The two times we won the Champions League, we did so with seven players from the academy, like Xavi, Iniesta, Valdes, who joined Barça aged seven or eight".

  • Lawrence Cooper