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LONDON. — Lionel Messi’s family have hit back at Diego Maradona after the Argentina soccer legend’s extraordinary attack.
The 1986 Soccer World Cup winner claimed the Barcelona forward played differently when he was representing the Spanish side and said it was a waste of time trying to turn him into a leader “because he goes to the toilet 20 times before a match.” Maradona, who is idolised in Argentina because of his performances for his nation, also insisted he would not call the 31-year-old up for international duty if he was made manager of the national team again.
His astonishing attack was made during an interview on Fox Sports.
Messi’s cousin Maxi Biancucchi branded Maradona, who has battled weight problems as well as addictions to drugs and alcohol, “ignorant” over his comments.
The 34-year-old, a professional footballer with second division Paraguayan side Rubio Nu who is nicknamed El Primo de Messi – Spanish for Messi’s cousin — raged: “It’s ignorant to discredit Leo.
“It’s sad to see how someone who boasts of being a leader, can talk so badly about a player who’s currently the best we’ve got and will probably be so for a long time yet.
“And he’s done it at a time when he should be helping to rebuild if he loves the national side as he says he does.”