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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Maradona blasts Argentina coaching

FC's Craig Burley and Shaka Hislop wonder if there were more deserving players to win the Golden Ball than Argentina's Lionel Messi.

Diego Maradona blasted the Argentine team for "not playing" and demanded the return of manager Cesar Luis Menotti, who coached the Albiceleste to their 1978 World Cup victory.

"If we put a team together, we would also have been able to beat our first rivals," Maradona said in reference to Bosnia-Herzegovina, who Argentina beat 2-1.

Maradona, who inspired Argentina to a 3-2 victory over West Germany in the 1986 decider, blasted Argentina federation president Julio Grondona for his coaching choices.

"I don't like either [current coach Alejandro] Sabella or [candidate under consideration Miguel Angel] Russo," Maradona told the media during a charity game in Cordoba, Argentina on Thursday. "There is someone we're forgetting: Menotti, who doesn't have a job because he's battled the 'mafia.'"

Sabella has yet to make a decision on whether he will extend his stay as coach of Argentina.

Argentina's 2010 World Cup coach, who also didn't hold back his opinions while working as a pundit for Venezuelan television during the 2014 World Cup, said he felt Lionel Messi underperformed under Sabella's thumb.

"With me as coach, Messi played five times better than he did with Sabella. Don't start with this talk about how he sacrificed for the team."

Messi was given FIFA's Golden Ball award, despite Germany's 1-0 victory over the Albiceleste. Messi scored four goals and created another in Brazil to help his nation to their first World Cup final since 1990.

Maradona drew an analogy to the situation Menotti faced during Argentina 1978 and in Spain in 1982: "The mafia also shut doors in my face but they will never be able to stop the people from liking me."

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