Rio Ferdinand reckons that Argentina star Lionel Messi suffers under the pressure of his Country’s 1986 World Cup winning captain Diego Maradona attending all of his sides games and the constant comparisons between the pair.
Maradona has god like status in his homeland and he remains one of La Albiceleste’s most visible and vocal supporters, with his presence at games often becoming something of a sideshow.
Messi often looks as if he is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders when playing for Argentina and former Manchester United and England defender Ferdinand reckons having to constantly deal with comparison to a legend like Maradona is his biggest challenge.
“He’s got huge pressure,” Ferdinand told BBC One.
“I think you can see the tension in his face, especially in the pictures we saw before.
“The pressure from a nation, the expectation’s on his shoulders as the greatest player.
“But I think his biggest pressure is the man in the stadium watching him, it’s Diego Maradona.
“That’s the biggest pressure he’s got.”
Messi captained Argentina last night as they scraped through to the second round of the World Cup after a narrow 2-1 victory over a valiant Nigiera side, with the Barcelona side opening the scoring with a sublime first-half finish.