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FIFA World Cup: Veron warns Argentina's defenders to stay alert

'Want to stop Messi? Make Maradona his trainer' screamed this headline in a Spanish daily during the time Diego Maradona used to be coach of the Argentina team (2008-2010).

Juan Sebastian Veron
Juan Sebastian Veron 

And there is at least one Argentine, who believes that under Diego, their 'God', Argentina did not play the way they should have.

He is former Argentina midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron, who has represented some of the world's top clubs including Manchester United, Chelsea, Lazio and Inter Milan besides 73 caps for his country. He's been a former teammate of current Argentina skipper Lionel Messi, and that gives him the authority to comment on the diminutive forward.

"Messi played well. The goal was his trademark. I have always believed that he can do it on his own but the team needs to support him through their way of playing," said Veron of Argentina's 2-1 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina recently.

Argentina's Zabaleta gestures towards Lulic of Bosnia. Pic/Getty Images
Argentina's Zabaleta gestures towards Lulic of Bosnia. Pic/Getty Images 

The new director of Argentine club Estudiantes de la Plata felt that Messi must be at the centre of whatever Argentina does at this World Cup and compared Argentina's style of play to that of Messi's club Barcelona. "Barcelona have too many good passers.

They always want to use the ball in a certain way. Other teams cannot copy that. But yes, Messi should be at the centre of everything," said the former defensive midfielder and set-piece specialist.

Defence holds the key
Veron finally stressed on the significance of Argentina's defence. "Defenders are important since they defend your lead. With forwards like Messi, (Sergio) Aguero and a fit (Gonzalo) Higuain, Argentina should score at some point in the match.

But it's the defenders, who have to be alert not to concede. In a World Cup, matches are decided by small mistakes. Teams with the lesser (number of) mistakes win. It's elementary," explained Veron, who was part of three World Cups — 1998, 2002 and 2010.

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