Diego Maradona worried about Lionel Messi's fitness

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Diego Maradona is concerned that Argentina star Lionel Messi will be too tired to guide his team to World Cup glory when they play Germany tonight.

Maradona is also worried that the burden of success is weighing heavily on Messi's mind as he prepares to do battle in the Maracana.

Following in Maradona's footsteps

If Argentina can win tonight it would be their first World Cup triumph for 28 years - the last time they lifted the trophy was when Maradona was a crucial part of the team.

And now Messi is hoping he can follow in his predecessor's footsteps and cement himself as one of the world's greatest ever.

Maradona said: "The only fear I have is that ‘The Flea’ [Messi] is tired. He looked very tired, to me, against Holland.

"Even if he doesn’t score in the final, for me he is still the best player in the world. But when you are playing a World Cup final, you cannot afford to be tired.

"I think he will understand that. If you miss a chance like this, the chance for the best feeling you can have, you will always regret it."

Messi's time

Despite Maradona's concerns, the little Argentine has been a pivotal part in his team reaching tonight's showpiece, scoring four goals in the tournament so far.

If he can replicate that kind of form against Germany, it might be Messi's time after all.

But they will come up against a fierce yet mechanical and efficient German outfit who also see this game as their best chance of victory for many a year.

They have been brutal at times during the tournament - not only in their 7-1 thrashing of Brazil in the semi-final - and go in to the final in slightly better form that their Argentinian opponents.

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Lionel Messi
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