New Delhi: In a rather shocking turn of events, football legend Diego Maradona on Thursday made explosive claims about Lionel Messi's Argentina retirement.
The World Cup winner said the Barcelona star may have staged his international retirement to shift focus from the series of finals defeats.
"[Messi] escaped the criticism but the Argentines suffered. Maybe his retirement was staged to make us forget about the three final losses," Maradona told TyC Sports.
The 29-year-old announced his decision to retire from international football immediately after his team's loss in the Copa America Centenario final to Chile
It was the third time Messi's Argentina lost in the final of a major tournament including against Germany at the World Cup in 2014.
Messi however reversed his decison and is now part of new manager Edgardo Bauza's squad for next week's World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Venezuela.
This however is not the first time Maradona has criticised Messi.
He has previously stated that Messi lacked leadership qualities.