Maradona: Argentina need Higuain, Tevez at World Cup

BUENOS AIRES, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- Diego Maradona has called on Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli to recall forwards Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos Tevez for this year's World Cup in Russia.

Despite his prolific form for Juventus, Higuain has yet to play a competitive match for the Albiceleste since Sampaoli was appointed coach last June.

Tevez, who rejoined his former club Boca Juniors in January after a disappointing year with Shanghai Shenhua, last featured for the national team in October 2015.

Among those given a chance by Sampaoli in recent matches is Inter Milan's Mauro Icardi, who has failed to score in four appearances for his country.

"It's embarrassing to rely on Icardi. Pipa [Higuain] is 10 times better than Icardi," Maradona told El Popular. "That guy [Sampaoli] doesn't know anything. The only thing he knows is what he's going to eat at his friend's house. Pipa has to have a new chance."

Maradona said of Tevez: "Of course [he should be recalled]. It's not a debate. We don't have anything else. We're scraping the barrel to get a number nine."

Argentina struggled during the South American zone 2018 World Cup qualifying tournament and only secured a ticket to Russia in the last match against Ecuador with a Lionel Messi-inspired 3-1 victory in Quito.

Maradona said the two-time World Cup winners no longer commanded respect from their rivals.

"We have no midfield deserving of the name," the former Napoli talisman said. "Today, except for Messi, people have lost respect for the Argentina team. Nobody is afraid of us. But Sampaoli is lucky. If the baby [Messi] is on fire, he will cover for all the mistakes.

Argentina have been drawn in Group D for the June 14-July 15 tournament alongside Iceland, Nigeria and Croatia.

[ Editor: WPY ]


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