Diego Maradona has slammed Argentina’s underperforming squad, claiming the country’s class of 2019 are not fit to wear the shirt.
Having reached the World Cup final in 2014, the Albiceleste have endured a rather humbling fall from grace.
They could only muster a last-16 showing on a global stage last summer, with eventual winners France proving too strong for an unorganised side on Russian soil.
Jorge Sampaoli paid the price for those failings with his job, while talismanic skipper Lionel Messi opted to take in a self-imposed break from international duty.
The Barcelona forward was welcomed back into the fold for a friendly date with Venezuela, but was unable to provide much inspiration in a 3-1 defeat which also saw him pick up a knock.
Messi will now play no part in a meeting with Morocco on Tuesday, and Maradona claims those left behind are an embarrassment to the collection of iconic figures who have gone before them.
The 1986 World Cup winner said when asked if he had watched the game against Venezuela: “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.”
Maradona added on those at Lionel Scaloni’s disposal: “It hurts me because I feel Argentinean 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 has been president of the Argentinean Football Association since 2017, but has found himself on the receiving end of regular outbursts from Maradona.
Maradona added of the man supposed to be steering the Albiceleste towards a bright future – starting at the 2019 Copa America: “I feel sorry for the Argentinean 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.”
Argentina have been placed in Group B at this summer’s Copa in Brazil and will have to navigate meetings with Colombia, Paraguay and Qatar in order to reach the knockout stage.