Diego Maradona has pleaded with Lionel Messi not to go through with his retirement from international football, following Argentina’s Copa America final loss to Chile.
After losing his fourth final for his country, an emotional Messi indicated his time with the national team was up, but Maradona has attempted to persuade the Barcelona forward to think carefully about his future.
He believes Messi should play on until at least the 2018 FIFA World Cup and also called on his teammates to help the 5-time world player of the year strike gold in Russia.
The 29-year-old announced his retirement from international duty after missing in a penalty shootout as the Argentinians lost a fourth major final in nine years.
“For me, the national team is over. I’ve done all I can. It hurts not to be a champion,” the Argentinian captain said on BBC.
He side it has been four finals, saying he had tried to win the title but to no avail.
“It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn’t get it, so I think it’s over.
“It’s very hard, but the decision is taken. Now I will not try more and there will be no going back,” he maintained.
Messi has played 113 times and scored 55 goals since his debut for Argentina in 2005 while he has an Olympic gold at the 2008 Games as his only major international honour.
Former Nigerian International, Idah Peterside, on Thursday expressed worry over the suspension of Nigeria from all football activities by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA).
Peterside said, who said FIFA got it wrong this time around, read Article 13, par. 1 and article 17, par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes, which obliges member associations to manage their affairs independently and with no influence from third parties.
Peterside, making his argument, wondered who “the third party is?”, insisting that we have had instances where government interfered with our football and we refused and said this is wrong.
“But in this case, an individual (Victor Rumson Baribote) took the FA to court” noting however that the FA made a mistake by not sending the individual’s name to FIFA “because this is not government interference, this is an individual grievance”.
He said had the FA or Sports Ministry reported Mr Baribote to FIFA and secured a life or 30 year ban, he will be ineligible to engage in football activities even if the court decides to rule in his favour.
World football’s governing body had suspended Nigeria from all international competition, after a court order, instituted by the owner of Nembe FC, Mrs Ebiakpo Rumson Baribote, sacked the Aminu Maigari-led Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) and gave a mandatory injunction compelling the Minister of Sports to appoint a senior member of the civil service in the NFF to command, control and manage the affairs of Nigeria football.
FIFA banned Nigerian football teams from competing in any international competition, be it at club or national level, on a temporary basis on Wednesday.
The emergency committee of FIFA set a deadline of Tuesday, July 15, for Nigeria to resolve the issue.
FIFA said that Nigeria had ignored two key FIFA statutes that guarantee no form of government interference in the management of Nigerian football.
“During the period of suspension, the NFF may not be represented in any regional, continental or international competitions, including at club level, or in friendly matches,” a FIFA statement said.
FIFA said the suspension would be lifted once “the properly elected NFF Executive Committee, the NFF General Assembly and the NFF administration are able to work without interference in their affairs.”
Messi Needs To Be On Maradona’s Level
Peterside also praised the two teams that played in yesterday’s (Wednesday) World Cup semi-final for being careful and not opening the floodgates of goals as seen during the Brazil-Germany match on Wednesday.
The World Cup in Brazil would have seen an all European final but for two misses during the penalty shootout by Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder, which handed a place in the final to Argentina.
Peterside noted that the game wasn’t fantastic because the players restrained themselves, failed to come out and play “because no one wanted to be hammered”, adding that “I am happy for Argentina because of Messi.
“Messi is a genius. We want him to be up there with the Maradona’s and Pele’s of this world because he deserves it and I think they will win it against Germany”, he said.
He further noted that final matches of competitions “always never have rules; it is just one game to the cup” adding that “we just play.
“In the history of the World Cup we have never had an entertaining final because you have 90 minutes to write your name in pebbles so it Is not always beautiful football” he said.
He however noted the strength of the German team describing them as a “rigid team that is just going for the kill”.
Germany had put seven goals past hosts Brazil in the first semi final of the competition played at the Estadio Mineirao.
Argentina will be facing Colombia today on what will pass as their acid test enroute their World Cup qualification journey in Argentina as the squad may file out without their magic man Lionel Messi.
According to Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella, the World’s best player has been okayed for the game but it was still not clear if the Barcelona star would enter the fray after a three-week recovery process as he is just recovering from a hamstring injury.
Sabella praised Messi’s tactics after which he revealed that his being down with a hamstring affected Barcelona’s chances as the team known as the best for the past 30 years was rubbished in major turfs that they were known to always conquer their opponents and this applies to the Argentina national team as well but they are going to try and not miss him by making up for his absence.
Colombia is expected to come to the Monumental in Buenos Aires hungry for a win that would put it within two points of South American group leaders Argentina.
It will fancy its chances, too, if Lionel Messi is not fit enough to start for Argentina, bringing back memories of Diego Maradona watching from the stands as Colombia tore apart the home side 20 years ago.
Third place Colombia is led by striker Radamel Falcao Garcia who the Argentine coach said players will look to neutralize.
Argentina, that won 2-1 away to Colombia early in the qualifiers, is on the threshold of next year’s finals in Brazil and would like to clinch its place as soon as possible.
If it loses, second-placed Ecuador could move to within a point by beating Peru in Lima.
Argentina leads the table with 24 points from 11 matches. Ecuador has 20 points and Colombia 19, both with a match in hand.
The top four teams at the end of the qualifiers in October will go through to the Brazil finals. The fifth-placed team, at present Venezuela, will enter a playoff against an Asian qualifier in November for another berth.
Former Argentina’s World Cup winning captain, Diego Maradona has been sacked from his role as manager of United Arab Emirates, side Al Wasl after 14 months in charge.
The legendary Argentinian’s position had been in doubt since June when the club’s entire board resigned following a trophy less season.
Maradona, 51, joined Al Wasl in May 2011 and still had a year to run on his contract.
He leaves after a disappointing league campaign which saw Al Wasl finish eight in the league.
“Following a meeting held by the board of directors of Al Wasl football company held to evaluate the technical staff of Al Wasl under the leadership of coach Diego Maradona, it was decided to terminate the services of coach Diego Maradona and his technical staff,” read a statement from the club.
Maradona, a World Cup winner with Argentina in 1986, made headlines in March this year when he acted in a similar manner to Eric Cantona’s famous attack on opposition fans.
During Al Wasl’s 2-0 UAE Pro League defeat at Al Shabab, he is understood to have climbed up into the stands to protect his wife after fans allegedly started abusing players’ wives and girlfriends.
Maradona had been brought in to help boost Al Wasl’s profile, both on and off the pitch, yet they finished 29 points behind champions Al Ain.