Maradona believes Argentina will have to rely on the influence of Lionel Messi to do well at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Argentina are among the favourites to lift the title having reached the final in 2014, but Maradona is concerned the team no longer command respect from opposing teams like in the past.
In an interview with diariopopular, Maradona said: “The problem with Argentina is that we don’t have good defence and midfield. People talk about Lucas Biglia but he is not the best for me. Unfortunately they are always afraid to say it.
“Today, except for Lionel Messi teams don’t fear Argentina again. Look at the last game against Nigeria, they nearly scored eight goals against us. In my time you know what happened when we played them.
“Jorge Sampaoli is lucky we have Messi in the team because when he is in top form he can cover the mistakes of others.
“If he hits top form in Russia, then we have 60 percent of becoming the champion with others complementing his effort.”
Maradona enjoyed remarkable success with the Albiceleste, having captained the side at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico which they won and is regarded by many as the greatest footballer to have ever played the game.
Nigeria will face Argentina in the group stage of the World Cup at the Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg on June 26, 2018.
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