Former World Cup winner Diego Maradona has leapt to the defence of Lionel Messi ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
Maradona who inspired Argentina to victory in the 1986 finals in Mexico believes that Messi will still be heralded for his club achievements whether he can help his country to their third World Cup win or not in Russia this summer.
"Whether he plays or doesn't play in a World Cup, they won't take his passport away for that. Messi is Messi, with or without a World Cup," Maradona said in an interview on Wednesday shortly after playing in the Match of Friendship in Basel, Switzerland.
He also praised another of Argentina's stars Paulo Dybala. The Juventus forward has been linked with a move away from the Serie A club but Maradona believes he can be successful even if he stays in Italy.
"Dybala can do extremely well in Italian football. He is already doing good," Maradona added.
Maradona also gave his verdict five days after FIFA fully approved video review to help referees at the World Cup. The landmark decision on using technology came two weeks after FIFA's rule-making panel, known as IFAB, voted to write VAR into the laws of soccer.
Maradona who scored the notorious "hand of God" goal against England at the 1986 World Cup has praised the introduction of VAR despite the technology still subject to criticism.
"I think that technology now is doing good in football...and I think it will be at the forefront for transparency in this new FIFA."