Lionel Messi’s return to the Argentina fold didn’t go as planned.
The Albiceleste were beaten 3-1 by Venezuela on Friday as their preparations for the 2019 Copa America took a hit.
Messi was making his first appearance for Argentina after missing six internationals during a self-imposed exile, which was brought about following the nation’s defeat to France at the 2018 World Cup.
And the Barcelona ace also suffered an injury during the friendly and will miss Tuesday’s exhibition against Morocco.
Argentina remain in a state of flux after replacing Jorge Sampaoli with Lionel Scaloni following last year’s World Cup.
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Several questions remain about the quality of players coming through the ranks in the South American nation and for Messi, he’s having to deal with players not up to the standard he’s used to playing with at Barcelona.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is desperate to win an international tournament with his country but he can only take them so far.
Maradona slams Argentina setup
And in the eyes of Argentina legend Diego Maradona, this Argentina side is exceptionally poor.
Maradona has slammed the current squad and hierarchy, insisting the players don’t deserve to wear the shirt and the people of Argentina deserve better.
When asked if he watched the game against Venezuela, Maradona replied, per AS: “I prefer not to watch horror films but I don’t know how the inept bunch who are in charge of Argentina thought they were going to beat Venezuela."
The 1986 World Cup winner added: “It hurts me because I feel Argentinian to the core, but with the generation of players like [Oscar] Ruggeri, [Gabriel] Batistuta, [Claudio] Caniggia... the current team don’t deserve to wear the shirt and those players had it tattooed on them.
“We’d give our lives to see the back of [Claudio] Tapia, who has no idea what he’s doing.”
Tapia became the president of the Argentinian Football Association in 2017 and will not be challenged for the post until elections in 2021.
“I feel sorry for the Argentinian people, who continue to believe in this liar, and I feel sorry for the players who have to take the consequences when the people that should be doing so are the directors who are giving away the prestige of the Argentina national team,” Maradona added.