Diego Maradona comes to Lionel Messi's defence after Iceland penalty miss

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Argentina legend Diego Maradona has come to the rescue of his countryman Lionel Messi‘s defence after the forward missed a penalty in the group stage game against Iceland.

The Barcelona superstar had a chance to put his team into the lead and score what could have been the decisive goal, taking Argentina to a 2-1 win.

However, Messi’s penalty was saved by Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson and the game ended with a 1-1 draw.

Maradona believes even the best players can miss a penalty – admitting that even he himself had failed to convert some during his time.

“I missed five penalties in a row and I was still Diego Armando Maradona,” he told Telesur.

Diego Maradona waves

“The game and the two points lost by the team are not down to his penalty.

“He showed his face and gave everything he had to give. The ‘kid’ did his duty.

“Seeing him on the field, he was pretty pissed off. Just like I would have been. It was all him, he always had to shrug two players off and when he did, there was no pass open.”

The 1986 World Cup winner instead put the onus of the draw on coach Jorge Sampaoli and believes his tactics weren’t up to the mark.

Meanwhile, Argentina will face Croatia in their next game on June 21.

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Lionel Messi takes responsibility for Argentina's draw against Iceland

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Lionel Messi has taken full responsibility for Argentina’s draw against Iceland in their first Group D stage game of World Cup 2018.

After Sergio Aguero had put Jorge Sampaoli’s men ahead and Alfred Finnbogason equalised for the underdogs, the Barcelona superstar had the chance of putting his team back into the lead in the 64th minute.

However, Messi missed from the penalty spot as Hannes Halldorsson saved to keep the game at 1-1.

“It hurts me to have missed the penalty, because it was the decisive advantage,” Messi told reporters post-match.

“I feel responsible for not having been able to take the three points. I have no doubt that a goal from the penalty kick would have changed everything.”

Argentina’s next two games in the competition will be against Croatia and Nigeria and Messi believes there is a lot to look forward to.

“We have not lost our hopes despite the draw, we still have the same desire,” he said. “I think we deserved the victory. We worked hard trying to find spaces in the Icelandic defense, but we couldn’t do it.

“This result doesn’t have to weigh on us looking forward. We have a few days to rest and to prepare the next match.”

Albiceleste will now face group leaders Croatia on June 21, who managed to secure a 2-0 win against Nigeria on Saturday.

“We didn’t plan to start with a draw in the first game, but no team will make it easy for you to win,” Messi said.

“This World Cup is going to be very even, all the matches are very close.”

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Cristiano Ronaldo is unique but Lionel Messi brings more magic, says Brazilian Ronaldo

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Brazilian legend Ronaldo has favoured Barcelona star Lionel Messi when compared to his rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

Speaking ahead of World Cup 2018 in an interview with Sport Bild, the former striker heaped praise on the Real Madrid superstar as well as the Argentina, but very clearly stated his choice.

“With his incredible attitude and his incredible winning mentality, Cristiano Ronaldo is a unique player, but I admit that Lionel Messi still adds more magic to football,” he said.

“With his dribbles, his complete way of playing the game, he (Messi) always generates surprise situation in attacks.”

Messi (R) and Real Madrid and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo

The World Cup winner also explained that the Portugal international’s move to Spain from England has had a great impact on his career.

He said: “The best thing that could have happened was moving to Madrid.”

“At Manchester United it was already incredible the number of goals he was scoring, but in Real Madrid he’s become even more complete.”

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