Maradona calls for refs to protect star players

ARGENTINA coach Diego Maradona has again called on referees to protect flair players in the World Cup, urging officials to be even stricter with offenders.

Maradona made a similar plea prior to his side’s opening encounter against Nigeria - a match Argentina won 1-0 and in which star Lionel Messi was outstanding - and he repeated it ahead of their second Group B fixture against South Korea.

He said: “It all depends on the referee and what he sees. He can stop the foul tactics and he can give a yellow card or even a red card if he sees the Korean players are going for Messi just to stop him from playing - that’s clear.

“I think Lionel should play his normal game and shouldn’t be fearing such tactics, but that’s up to the referee.’’

Maradona also took a swipe at fellow legends Pele and Michel Platini and criticised the World Cup matchball during another no-holds-barred press conference.


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He said Pele should “go back to the museum” and claimed UEFA president Platini thinks he “is better than all the rest”.

Maradona also suggested both former superstars should go and try out the much-maligned adidas Jabulani matchball for themselves to see if it is good or bad.

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