Messi welcomes Maradona’s appointment as Argentina coach

October 30th, 2008 - 3:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Milan, Oct 30 (DPA) Argentine football star Lionel Messi has welcomed the appointment of Diego Maradona as coach of the national team.”He is a great. I admire him for what he gave to Argentine football,” Messi said in an interview with the Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Maradona recently criticised the Barcelona striker, whom he accused of being excessively individualistic on the ground.

“It’s things you say on the spur of the moment. I know Diego likes me and I hold no grudges,” Messi said.

The young striker, 21, has few direct references of the legendary playmaker.

“I only watched him once, when I was five: my father took me to the stadium of Newells, whom he supported.”

Messi won Olympic gold in Beijing 2008 under coach Sergio Batista, whom he supported to lead the senior team after Alfio Basile resigned earlier this month.

Despite Argentina’s poor recent results, the striker is optimistic about the future.

“The generation which won the Olympics is coming on. If we had been luckier in the (World Cup) quarter-finals against Germany in 2006, we could have won the tournament. Argentina has been missing the World Cup for too long.”

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