Argentina legend Diego Maradona has launched a scathing attack on Lionel Messi claiming that he has ‘no personality’.
The 55-year-old was joined by Brazil legend Pele during a Euro 2016 preview event in Paris on Thursday and admitted that he has doubts about his compatriot.
Pele asked Maradona if he knew Messi personally to which the 1986 World Cup winner responded with a surprise reaction.
“He’s a really good person, but he has no personality,” Maradona said.
“He lacks [the] character to be a leader.”
Pele responded: “Ah, I get it, he’s not like we were back in the days. In the 70s we [Brazil] had really good players like Rivellino, Gerson, Tostao.
“Not like Argentina now, which depends only on Messi. He [Maradona] is saying that Messi is a good player, there’s no doubt about it, but he has no personality.”
Messi’s commitment to the national team in Argentina has occasionally come into question.
His only major international honour is a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics, having lost out in two Copa America finals and one World Cup final.
And he was absent for this country’s Copa America opener against Chile earlier this week, which Argentina won 2-1.
Maradona and Pele appeared to put their differences aside as they shared an historic hug in Paris.
They appeared to share a joke on stage as the specially-invited audience watched on.
“I want to thank Pele, we know who he is and who he will always be. We need icons like him,” Maradona declared to the audience.
Pele, 75, the only man in history to win the World Cup three times, later had his arm hoisted into the air by Maradona as the watching crowds cheered.
“The most important is the message of peace,” said Pele.
“Many thanks to my friend Maradona for this opportunity and a big round of applause to the players who have been here today. This is a moment of peace.”