Mario Kempes is extremely worried by the possibility that Argentina will not qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, leaving Lionel Messi at home during the world’s greatest festival of football.
Argentina face crunch match against Ecuador
Argentina find themselves in a precarious position going in to their final qualifying match, against Ecuador in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Jorge Sampaoli’s side are currently in sixth place in the South American qualifying group, having drawn their last three matches, scoring just one goal in the process. Victory against Ecuador would be enough to secure at least a play-off place.
Kempes, who won the World Cup on home turf in 1978, said "a World Cup without Argentina and without Messi would be a catastrophe,” to Súper Deportivo Radio de Santa Fe, a statement later picked up by FourFourTwo.
"The only ones who would be happy if Messi doesn't go to the World Cup would be Maradona fans because, that way, they can keep saying that he's the best,” the 63-year-old added.
Kempes rejects psychological problem in Sampaoli's squad
The former-Rosario Central and Valencia player also rejected the notion that mental strength is a problem within the Albiceleste squad:
“"If you told me they're boys who don't have experience and who had been called up for the first time, who find themselves in front of full stands, I could believe that the problem is psychological, that they're scared. But in this situation, there is no psychological problem.”