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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 13:09, August 20, 2005
Maradona criticizes referee who expelled Messi
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Former football star Diego Armando Maradona said Friday the swift sending off of midfielder Lionel Messi by the referee was "an outrage".

Messi, from Spanish Barcelona, was debuting with the Argentinian team last Wednesday.

Maradona also demanded the return to the national team of midfielder from Italian Inter Juan Sebastian Veron and also of Boca Juniors defender Daniel Diaz.

In a statement for a Buenos Aires radio station, Maradona criticized the German referee Markus Merk for sending Messi off during a friendly in Budapest in which Argentina beat Hungary 2-1.

During the second half of the match, Messi replaced Lisandro Lopez and 30 seconds later, in his first intervention, he clashed with Vanczak and the referee sent him off.

"What the referee did is an outrage. He watches too much TV and reads too many newspapers. He was waiting for Messi to come in. It was yellow (the card) for everyone and he who thinks the opposite is not an Argentinian, first of all, and second, he cannot say he was not hit", he said.

When asked whether the Boca midfielder Daniel Bilos should be part of the national team, Maradona said "he is playing very well", but that for him Daniel Diaz is one of the best defenders in the world.

Regarding Sebastian Veron, Maradona said "he has all that is requiered to lead the midfield in the national team".

Source: Xinhua

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