Diego Maradona has lashed out at Messi again .

Diego Maradona has attacked Lionel Messi's pre-match behaviour with Argentina

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The inquest into Argentina's shortcomings at the World Cup is still rumbling on into its fourth month.

Lionel Messi's future with the Albiceleste remains uncertain. Yet to officially announce his retirement, the Barcelona forward has hinted he will not be returning to the national side.

The 31-year-old has told caretaker boss Lionel Scaloni he will not play for them again in 2018, prompting fears that they really have seen the last of him this time.

In 2016, after the Copa America final defeat to Chile, Messi ostensibly hung up his boots, only to change his mind amid nationwide protests and even an intervention from the Argentine president.

That's the extent to which he is revered in his homeland. In Russia this summer, in spite of their shambolic defence and goalkeeping, he managed to galvanise his side towards the last-16, where they lost to eventual winners France.

However, praise of arguably the greatest player of all time is not universal - in fact, a man who rivals him to that title has once again launched an attack on Messi.

That's right - Diego Maradona is at it again, this time questioning the no. 10's pre-match behaviour.

Maradona questions Messi's leadership 

Speaking on Mexican programme 'La Ultima Palabra', as quoted by Marca, the 57-year-old explained:

"He does ask for it on the pitch, but before speaking to teammates he'll go and play the PlayStation.

"For me it's difficult to talk, but it's pointless wanting to make a man who goes to the bathroom 20 times before a match into the leader.

Messi was unable to salvage Argentina's shambolic World Cup

"Messi is Messi at Barcelona and Messi is Messi with Argentina.

"I wouldn't call up Messi, but never say never. There's a need to take pressure off him.

"There's a need to take the leadership away from Messi, as we want him to be Messi, which he wouldn't be."

Only a matter of days ago, Maradona had defended Messi and suggested he had been made a scapegoat for the team's problems.

As per the Daily Mail, the legend hit out at Javier Mascherano, saying he was "not a leader" and "not what I believed".

He also said that within the Argentina set-up were a "whole bunch of traitors".

Maradona is perhaps the only player to possess the same iconic status as Messi and yet, sadly, comments like this are seeing his standing fall again.

It seems unlikely, at any rate, that Scaloni will take his suggestions seriously. 

What do you think of Maradona's comments on Messi? Have your say in the comments. 

Diego Maradona
Argentina Football
Lionel Messi

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