Argentina World Cup winner Mario Kempes insists Lionel Messi cannot be compared to the legendary Diego Maradona.
Messi, whose hat-trick against Ecuador secured Argentina's place in Russia, missed a penalty in their Group D opener against Iceland as Jorge Sampaoli's side were held to a draw.
Despite the array of attacking talent at their disposal, it is Messi who is the one relied on to push Argentina forward.
And Kempes - who won the World Cup in 1978 - claims a lack of variety from Sampaoli's side has not helped Messi in his bid to reach the level of Maradona on the international stage.
"It's silly. Messi is good but he's never won the World Cup. Comparing players from different eras is impossible," Kempes told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I won the World Cup in 1978, Maradona in 1986 and Messi is yet to do that. That's the reality of the situation.
"Argentina only have a Plan A, they lack a Plan B and a Plan C. Plan A is to give the ball to Messi, close their eyes and hope for the best.
"But if Messi doesn't perform they lack any other solution. Individually they have quality but as a collective it doesn't work. I see a lot of 'Messi's friends' but not many 'teammates'. That's the difference."
Kempes' thoughts were not echoed by Sergio Ramos, however, with the Real Madrid man hitting back at Maradona following the 57-year-old's comments that the Spain captain was not a true leader.
"In Argentina they know that Maradona is light years away from the best Argentine player in history, which for me is Lionel Messi," Ramos told reporters.
26 de septiembre 2018
|Astros become first defending champions to reach 100 wins since 1990 Athletics|
|Wilder waiting for ´real offer´ to fight Joshua|
|LeBron focusing on patience after first Lakers practice|
|Pochettino expects Spurs in new stadium by Christmas|
|Inzaghi: With Ronaldo, Juve are best team in Europe|
|Some people talk too much – Icardi hits back at critics|
|Kovac, Robben praise Augsburg after draw|
|Angels star Ohtani to undergo Tommy John surgery|
|Simeone tips Gimenez to be fit for Madrid derby|
|Smith on his NBA Finals miscue: People make mistakes all the time|
|Rams CB Talib to have ankle surgery|
|Cousins ´feeling a lot better´, still unsure when he´ll return|
|I knew we´d be in trouble with Jones on penalties – Mourinho|
|Coyotes forward Galchenyuk expected to miss opener|
|Guardiola won´t compare Foden to Iniesta|
|Lampard shell-shocked as Derby win at Old Trafford|
|Ryder Cup 2018: USA celebrities take the honours|
|Manchester United´s torrid penalty shoot-out run continues against Derby|
|Guardiola: Foden already a great, great player|
25 de septiembre 2018
|Atletico Madrid 3 Huesca 0: Rojiblancos cruise ahead of Madrid derby|
|EFL Cup: Lampard dumps out Mourinho, Burnley lose at Burton Albion|
|Mourinho denies Pogba row despite stripping midfielder of vice-captaincy|
|Fabinho situation not complicated, insists Klopp|
|Manchester United 2 Derby County 2 (Derby win 8-7 on pens): Lampard heaps pressure on Mourinho|
|Afghanistan snatch tie after Shahzad pummels India|
|Inter 2 Fiorentina 1: D´Ambrosio maintains Nerazzurri revival|
|Oxford United 0 Manchester City 3: Foden stars as EFL Cup holders cruise into round four|
|Cousin takes Gabon post after Aubameyang rejection|
|Bayern Munich 1 Augsburg 1: Neuer error costs champions|
|Paris Saint-Germain must be a Champions League force to help Neymar - Baptista|
|Salgado warns of ´war´ in Spanish football|
|Cech deserves Arsenal place, says Seaman|
|Halep and Garcia among seeds to fall in Wuhan|
|F1 Raceweek: Mercedes taking no comfort in points advantage|
|Benitez charged by FA for referee comment relating to Zaha treatment|
|Cibulkova dumps out hampered Halep in Wuhan|
|Mourinho questions his players amid reports Pogba won´t captain United again|
|European Ryder Cup diary: Fleetwood´s hair delights Poulter|
|USA Ryder Cup diary: Tiger´s roaring reception, McEnroe´s bold prediction|
|Loans to be limited under new FIFA proposal|
|Prolific Nadolo signs new Montpellier contract|
|Modric? For us, Messi is the best – Valverde|
|Murray makes winning start in Shenzhen|
|Mickelson would cherish first victory on European soil|
|Hodge hoping pressure proves too much for South Africa|
|Woodward in show of support for under-fire Mourinho|
|Mickelson jokes he wants ´a shot a side´ from Tiger in Thanksgiving showdown|
|Reed: Captain America is a villain in Europe|
|Duminy to captain Proteas as Elgar replaces injured Amla|
|No Tottenham timeline for Lloris, Vorm returns|
|Woods ready for ´awesome environment´ on Ryder Cup opening hole|
|Tony Bellew determined to prove doubters wrong against Oleksandr Usyk|
|Tuchel explains why he likes Neymar at number 10|
|Manchester United smash revenue record but profits down|
|Furyk downplays Ryder Cup pairings talk, says Tuesday is about individuals|
|Rejuvenated Tiger out to improve poor Ryder Cup record|
|Saunders fined £100,000 for ´sickening´ online video|
|Hazard can reach his full potential with Sarri´s Chelsea - Zola|
|Ryder Cup heading back in Europe´s direction, says Niall Horan|
|Wow! Klopp hails Sarri´s Chelsea transformation|
|Giovinazzi to partner Raikkonen at Sauber in 2019|
|Bjorn backs ´phenomenal´ Rahm to continue trend of Spanish success|
|Durant in no rush to decide Warriors future|
|Rossi to face anti-doping hearing|
|Mignolet to return for Liverpool against Chelsea|
|Premier League ´interesting´ for Germany boss Low|
|Wilder wins Twitter vote to be Joshua´s next opponent|
|BREAKING NEWS: Isco an El Derbi doubt due to appendicitis|
|Juventus won´t rest Ronaldo ahead of Napoli clash|
|Slater cleared to play in NRL Grand Final|