Buenos Aires - Diego Maradona apparently boasted that his 1986 World Cup-winning Argentina team was better than the current squad now thrown into turmoil by Lionel Messi's departure, in a recording published Wednesday.
Previously critical of Messi, the 55-year-old ex-national captain and 2010 World Cup coach joined calls this week for him to reverse his decision to retire from the Argentina national team after a morale crushing penalty shoot-out defeat to Chile in the Copa America Centenario final.
But in a recording published online by Argentine media, he was heard apparently belittling the side led by Messi.
"Every second that goes by makes us greater, because we went and played with balls... We didn't go and play against Chile. We beat Germany," Maradona told his old World Cup teammates in a recorded message to celebrate commemorating the 1986 victory.
"You know what I mean: the difference there is between one team and another."
Argentina's congress held a tribute to the 1986 squad on Tuesday to mark the 30th anniversary of their triumph, but Maradona did not attend.