Argentina World Cup winner Mario Kempes insists Lionel Messi cannot be compared to the legendary Diego Maradona.
Messi, whose hat-trick against Ecuador secured Argentina's place in Russia, missed a penalty in their Group D opener against Iceland as Jorge Sampaoli's side were held to a draw.
Despite the array of attacking talent at their disposal, it is Messi who is the one relied on to push Argentina forward.
And Kempes - who won the World Cup in 1978 - claims a lack of variety from Sampaoli's side has not helped Messi in his bid to reach the level of Maradona on the international stage.
"It's silly. Messi is good but he's never won the World Cup. Comparing players from different eras is impossible," Kempes told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I won the World Cup in 1978, Maradona in 1986 and Messi is yet to do that. That's the reality of the situation.
"Argentina only have a Plan A, they lack a Plan B and a Plan C. Plan A is to give the ball to Messi, close their eyes and hope for the best.
"But if Messi doesn't perform they lack any other solution. Individually they have quality but as a collective it doesn't work. I see a lot of 'Messi's friends' but not many 'teammates'. That's the difference."
Kempes' thoughts were not echoed by Sergio Ramos, however, with the Real Madrid man hitting back at Maradona following the 57-year-old's comments that the Spain captain was not a true leader.
"In Argentina they know that Maradona is light years away from the best Argentine player in history, which for me is Lionel Messi," Ramos told reporters.
|Brady says Gordon is ´really eager to get in there´ despite limited practice|
|NBA changes clock-reset, ´clear path´ foul rules|
|Tigers´ Martinez will play final game on Saturday before retiring|
|Sanchez to start for Man United – Mourinho|
|Speight saves Ulster in thrilling Cheetahs draw|
|Simmonds at the double as Chiefs stay perfect|
|Woods, Rose share Tour Championship lead|
|Ice-cool Shoaib denies Afghanistan in final over|
|CAF Champions League Review: Wydad Casablanca out as TP Mazembe pay penalty|
|Eden inspires rout as Castleford book Wigan semi-final|
|Thiem & Wawrinka reach St. Petersburg semi-finals|
|No change to Aguero selection despite new contract, warns Guardiola|
|Woods and Rose share Tour Championship lead|
|Wigan Athletic 1 Bristol City 0: Three on the trot for improving Latics|
|Josh Rosen will play ´when time is right,´ Cardinals GM says|
|Eagles RBs Ajayi & Sproles out Sunday v Colts|
|Ronaldo looking forward after Champions League red card - Alex Sandro|
|Rangers fire manager Jeff Banister after four seasons|
|Inter captain Icardi can improve - Spalletti|
|Jadeja and Rohit shine as India maintain 100 per cent record|
|Fisher shares lead in Vilamoura after record-breaking 59|
|Messi the best I´ve seen - Lamela|
|Silva demands end to Gomes ´rumours´ and targets early October return|
|Milner over Pogba, says Souness|
|Brazil call up Malcom, drop Thiago Silva and Willian|
|Denly thought Test chance may never come|
|Benitez tells FA to examine Zaha red card comments|
|Bjorn unsure of future after Ryder Cup|
|Tebas still optimistic over Girona-Barcelona in Miami despite RFEF setback|
|Emery promises more chances for frustrated Leno|
|Cahill considering Chelsea departure in January|
|Kaepernick to receive Harvard´s highest honour in African, African-American studies|
|Defending champion Ostapenko dumped out of Korea Open|
|Mourinho is an inspiration - Nuno|
|Witty Wilson ´delighted´ to be praised for Fisher heroics while sitting on couch|
|Burns, Denly and Stone in England squad for Sri Lanka Tests|
|Aspas reveals interest from Real Madrid, Atletico|
|Arsenal´s Mkhitaryan a doubt for Everton match|
|Klopp demands Liverpool ´stay angry´ against Southampton|
|Long-serving Tabarez signs four-year Uruguay extension|
|Injured Mendy ruled out of Cardiff trip|
|Douglas Costa out up to a month with ankle & thigh injuries|
|Slater shrugs off Feki hit amid Grand Final suspension concerns|
|Crisis? What crisis? Klopp unconcerned by Salah form|
|I didn´t convince him, he decided for himself - Guardiola says thanks to Aguero|
|Leno frustrated by Arsenal bench role|
|Joshua almost 2st heavier than Povetkin for Wembley bout|
|From salvation to the record books - Fisher revels in European Tour´s first 59|
|Lahm says Germany best for Euro 2024 as UEFA publishes report|
|Lopetegui backs Modric over Ronaldo for individual prizes|
|Goretzka to start against former club Schalke, confirms Kovac|
|Fisher shoots first 59 in European Tour history|
|Simeone defends Ronaldo after controversial Champions League red|
|Slater sees Storm into Grand Final, awaits fate over ´shoulder charge´|
|Hogg to miss Scotland´s November Tests following ankle surgery|
|Osaka through as Azarenka and Garcia crash out|
|Burgess weighing up legal options after being cleared in Rabbitohs investigation|
|Uncapped Cottrell and Gordon named in Wallabies squad|
|He´s done fantastic work - Mourinho hails Wolves boss Nuno|
|Joshua v Povetkin: No need for fireworks on AJ´s Wembley return|
|Six titles, 204 goals - Aguero´s incredible City career in Opta stats|
|Read to miss Argentina clash, Ioane brothers sign new deals|
|Pedro allays injury fears after Europa League clash|
|Dilly dilly to all the Cleveland fans! Mayfield promises further Browns success|
|Manchester United ´hell´ left Zaha depressed|
|Jackson hesitates in naming Mayfield as Browns´ starting QB|
|LeBron congratulates Browns for ending 635-day winless streak|
|Aguero Extension: 10 of the best goals from the Manchester City star|
|Aguero signs City contract extension until 2021|
|Stress from drink-driving charge may have contributed to Lloris injury – Pochettino|