Search icon


21st Jun 2018

WATCH: Diego Maradona failed to inspire Lionel Messi with his pre-match show of support

This didn't appear to help

Simon Lloyd

Lionel Messi had been on the wrong end of plenty of criticism since Argentina’s World Cup opener against Iceland

The game finished 1-1, with Messi failing to score a second-half penalty.

Drawn in one of the more difficult groups in Russia, this meant a result against Croatia in their second game was vital for Jorge Sampaoli’s men to be in with a good chance of progressing to the knockout stages.

For Messi, so often accused of underperforming for his national side,  the pressure appeared to be showing during prematch national anthem.

One man who was backing him, however, was his former manager, Diego Maradona.

The Argentina legend, who guided the country to World Cup glory in 1986, was seen in the stands waving a shirt bearing Messi’s name prior to kick off. Cameras even captured the moment he kissed the shirt in a show of support for the Barcelona star.

Sadly, this didn’t appear to bring much luck to Messi, who was largely anonymous in what proved to be a miserable game for Argentina. Ante Rebic volleyed them in front after Willy Caballero’s error after half-time, with goals from Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic completing a 3-0 victory for Croatia.

Argentina’s World Cup fate is now out of their hands, and a win in their final game against Nigeria is imperative for them to stand any chance of reaching the knockout stages.