Argentina legend and World Cup winner Diego Maradona has advised star forward Lionel Messi just to take it easy and ignore all the critics at the upcoming 2018 World Cup in Russia, believing this will give La Celeste y Blanca their biggest chance of lifting the trophy.
Focus on the goal, not the static noise
Maradona won the World Cup in 1986 Mexico
“I would advise Messi to keep playing, to enjoy the game,” Maradona said to Omnisport. “He has to forget about the critics, if he can win the World Cup or not. He doesn’t have to demonstrate anything. He has to enjoy the game on the field. I don’t know (manager Jorge) Sampaoli, I don’t know how he plays. But, I know a lot of the players and I know they will give everything. And I think they have a good opportunity to win.”
The only reason why Maradona doesn’t want to publicly back Argentina as the favourite team to win the 2018 World Cup is simply down to one reason, as according to him the favourite side never wins the competition.
“But I don’t choose (Argentina) as a favourite because the favourite one never wins.”
Online sportsbooks in Russia agree with Maradona’s assessment on his country’s chances, as they’re giving the Argentines odds of fifth favourite odds 10.00 (9/1) to win the tournament outright, per Bet365 Sportsbook. They sit behind the likes of France 7.50 (13/2), Spain 7.00 (6/1) and Germany 5.50 (9/2), while fellow South Americans Brazil 5.00 (4/1) are the favourite nation to win.
(For more info about the online betting site, check out Bet365 Sportsbook review.)
Argentina are putting all their hopes on Messi to lead them to glory
Argentina are likely to face an uphill battle, as they’re still not viewed as a team that’s glued together enough that would make them capable of conquering the 2018 World Cup. Their biggest hope remains Messi, and many believe that without him in the Argentina squad, their odds would have been even lower than they currently are.
The manager Sampaoli has a plethora of attacking players to choose from to partner Messi up front, with some of the being names being: Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria and Paulo Dybala. It’s a headache to choose from just two aforementioned players that can team up with Messi, but that’s why the defence should be rather easy to select, as they’re lacking real quality in the back line – that’s arguably Argentina’s biggest disadvantage heading into the 2018 World Cup.
Maradona won the World Cup title once during his illustrious 17-year career with La Seleccion, and it came in 1986 Mexico where he performed the infamous “Hand of God” move against England in the quarter-finals of that year’s competition. Argentine lifted their second World Cup title in their history (and Maradona his first) after they defeated West German 3-2 in front of 115,000 adoring fans in the final at Mexico City’s Estado Azteca, per online sportsbooks in Argentina.