Diego Maradona insists Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi's place in the game won't be lessened if he fails to win a World Cup. Maradona won the 1986 World Cup with Argentina and coached Messi at the 2010 tournament.

"Messi had an exceptional World Cup with me... and no-one said so. (Was it) because he didn't score? He turned all the goalkeepers into stars," he said.

"I approached him and told him he'd have many World Cups to get revenge. I said it with all my heart. While the rest were thinking about our return (home) he was there, head bowed, crying."

Maradona added: "For Leo it will be a test of character, to bring out all that crying he has in his heart. Brazil can be his great revenge."

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