Former Barcelona midfielder Emmanuel Petit claims Lionel Messi is ‘not a leader’ like Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo and ‘needs to wake up’.
Messi and Argentina have been heavily criticised for their performances at the World Cup, which have left them needing to beat Nigeria to have any chance of the last 16, whereas Ronaldo leads the scoring charts with four goals in Portugal’s two games.
“He’s not a leader,” Petit told Paddy Power News.
“He’s no Ronaldo in that regard. Messi is one of the best players ever, but he needs to show that mentality.
“He needs to wake up! When things go well with Barcelona he’s a terrific player. We’ve seen it in the Champions League though, when things don’t go well, he can disappear on the pitch.
“He’s not there anymore. He’s not running, he’s walking. He’s not concerned about the ball. Come on.
“The whole team’s body language was so poor, no confidence, no trust between each other. The way they looked, I cannot see Argentina qualifying now.
“It would be a shame to see them qualify, because against Iceland they looked terrible, with no inspiration, nothing at all.
“And the manager, Jorge Sampaoli, has made so many mistakes since the start of the tournament, in choosing his team, making substitutions, everything.
“You remember so many Argentina teams with great players in the past, but this team is so far from those.
“I’m not that surprised though, I’ve been saying it since before the World Cup, there was no chance they would win it because of that defence. They look terrible.”