Lionel Messi has never been one to show too much emotion on the football pitch.
You will rarely see the Barcelona star shouting at teammates or complaining when opponents attempt to kick lumps out of him. Except when he scores, Messi is pretty much emotionless.
This gives off the impression that the 28-year-old isn’t the most boisterous of characters away from the pitch.
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And that thought has been supported by Argentina legend Diego Maradona, except he went one step further by claiming that Messi “has no personality”.
Messi was made captain of the Argentina national team in 2011 but that hasn’t changed his “lead by example” approach. This didn’t bother Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella, who knew that Javier Mascherano would be the vocal one.
But Maradona reckons Messi doesn’t fit the mould of a true leader in quite a harsh assessment of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
In conversation with Brazil hero Pele at an event in Paris, Maradona said: “He's a really good person, but he has no personality,” per Goal.
“He lacks [the] character to be a leader."
Criticism in Argentina
Leadership styles come in different ways. Messi adopts a completely different style to someone like Tony Adams and, as a result, there are plenty in Argentina who will agree with Maradona.
Messi’s lack of success at international level has been well-documented but it’s his performances for Argentina that have angered some in his homeland.
The Barcelona star has struggled to replicate his club performances on an international level and it’s genuinely odd that Messi is yet to win a major tournament with the Albiceleste.
He's come close - losing the final of the Copa America twice and finishing runner-up at the 2014 World Cup - but hasn’t been able to lead Argentina to victory.
Copa America bid
In response to Maradona’s claim, Pele, who won the World Cup three times, said: “Ah, I get it, he's not like we were back in the days. In the 70s we [Brazil] had really good players like Rivellino, Gerson, Tostao.
"Not like Argentina now, which depends only on Messi. He [Maradona] is saying that Messi is a good player, there's no doubt about it, but he has no personality."
Messi is currently representing Argentina at the Copa America in the United States. A back injury forced him to miss the 2-1 win against Chile but he could return for the clash against Panama on Friday night.
Gerardo Martino’s team are favourites to win their first major trophy but they’ll need Messi to be on top form.
Is Lionel Messi a good leader? Let us know in the comments section below!
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