Maradona calls Batista "drunk"

Maradona calls Batista "drunk"

Published May. 18, 2011 1:00 a.m. ET

Diego Maradona has said on Argentine TV that his successor as national coach must be ''drunk'' for suggesting Manchester City forward Carlos Tevez is not needed for the Copa America.

Sergio Batista said Tevez was not required because he had players like Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain who played in the same position.

''You would have to be drunk or stoned not to call up Tevez,'' Maradona told the TyC sports channel on Wednesday. ''Don't tell me you want to test someone else ... what kind of test are you talking about?''

Maradona, who agreed this week to coach United Arab Emirates club Al Wasl, said Messi was a different type of player who was not suited to the traditional No. 9 center forward's role.


''Everyone has their own style of play, but I wouldn't play Messi as a No. 9,'' he said.

Tevez said he was also puzzled about the reasons behind his probable exclusion.

''I'm dying to play for the national team,'' he told radio station La Red. ''There's some extra problem that I don't know about ... if it's about football, they should have called me and they should have said, 'look Carlitos, it's a football thing'''.

There have been claims Tevez is being left out because he has a bad relationship with Messi.

''It's like they want people to be against me,'' Tevez said. ''I have a good relationship with the little man (Messi). Messi is the best in the world, it should be him and 10 others.''

The striker also thanked Maradona for his support.

''I love Diego and he loves me,'' he said.

Maradona, who took the national team to the World Cup quarterfinals last year only to lose 4-0 to Germany, also had harsh words for Batista's reign.

''What's going on today is a mess and it's not being criticized,'' he said. ''We've gone 1,000 steps backward and it makes me ashamed because we had earned a respect with the national side but now it is being thrown out the window.''

Argentina hosts the Copa America in July.