A former Argentina international and FIFA World Cup says there is no way anyone can compare FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi to La Albiceleste legend Diego Maradona.
The 30-year-old, whose hat-trick against Ecuador secured his country's qualification for Russia 2018, has had a miserable tournament thus far, missing a penalty in his side's Group D opener against Iceland and then failing to inspire them in any way as Croatia thumped them 3-0 on Thursday.
Mario Kempes, who won the showpiece with the Albiceleste in 1978, believes the current Argentina squad lacks quality and does not have the resources Messi needs to reach the levels Maradona did on the international stage.
"It is silly. Messi is good, but he has never won the World Cup. Comparing players from different eras is impossible," Kempes told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I won the World Cup in 1978, Maradona in 1986, and Messi is yet to do that. That is the reality of the situation.
"Argentina only have a Plan A, they lack a Plan B, and a Plan C. Plan A is to give the ball to Messi, close their eyes and hope for the best. But if Messi does not perform they lack any other solution.
Individually they have quality, but as a collective, it does not work. I see a lot of 'Messi's friends' but not many 'teammates'. That is the difference."
The South Americans are not out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup just yet, but are in need of a few favours from others should they want to reach the round of 16.
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