London: Argentina great Diego Maradona has hit out at his countryman Lionel Messi, saying the forward is not a leader on the pitch and should not be considered a footballing God.
Messi not a leader: Maradona
"We shouldn't deify Messi any longer," Maradona said in an interview with Fox Sports.
"He's Messi when he plays for Barcelona. Messi is Messi when he wears that shirt and he's another Messi with Argentina."
"He's a great player but he's not a leader. It's useless trying to make a leader out of a man who goes to the toilet 20 times before a game."
The reference was believed to be in connection with Messi's extreme nerves before games that have seen him vomit ahead of some important matches.
Messi, 31, has claimed every possible honour with Barcelona and has won the FIFA World Player of the Year award five times.
But he has struggled to reproduce the same scintillating form when wearing the blue and white shirt of Argentina.