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PRETORIA: Diego Maradona said star player Lionel Messi will play on Tuesday because benching him would be ‘sinful'.
Maradona, whose squad is assured a berth in the round of 16, said the Barcelona striker will be on the field and might even be the captain for La Albiceleste.
“We wanted to give Lionel a break but he will play,” Maradona said. “He's the best player in the world. I think it would be a sin not to give him to the team, to the people, and leave out a player who could decide the match.”
Asked if Messi might assume the captain's armband the way Maradona himself did in an earlier World Cup, the legend said only, “You will know that when the people go on the pitch.”
Maradona looks forward to seeing Messi net his first World Cup goal. “I would really love that Leo does what is supposed to be done during the World Cup,” Maradona said.
“I remember when I scored that first goal we had the match in our hands. Perhaps Messi can have the same experience.” Messi has not been solved by rival goalkeepers, Maradona contends, noting his set-up ability on Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain's three goals against the Koreans.
“The choreography allows you to see Messi in a way you never expected to see him,” Maradona said.
The former winner is confident in what amounts to a second team, saying some of them could earn their way into the first squad if they play well against Greece. — Agencies
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