Diego Maradona has defended Lionel Messi over recent poor performances for Barcelona.

Maradona believes fatigue is now effecting his fellow Argentine.

He told Marca: "I want to be fair, I understand everyone and do not want to defend just to defend, but you should not unfairly criticize. Messi cannot save Barca in every game.

"Barca are in a rough time and Messi, within that structure, is struggling, as part of a whole which started poorly in the preseason. In the summer he played 60 minute games which were meaningless because the organizers paid for it.

"And he's tired, like many of the team. The better planned season was done at Real Madrid."