Messi the fear factor for France vs Argentina


PARIS (Reuters) – Just as Diego Maradona was feared on the pitch, Lionel Messi will be the man to watch when France take on Argentina in a friendly on Wednesday.  The hype surrounding the match will be high as it is to be played at the Stade Velodrome (8 p.m. British time), 20 years after Maradona almost joined Olympique Marseille from Napoli.  France coach Raymond Domenech, who usually does not say much about his team’s opponents, is full of praise for Messi and his coach, Maradona.

“He has something exceptional,” he said of Messi, who has scored 16 goals in 19 Primera Liga matches with Barcelona this season. “We see what he’s able to do with Barca but also with Argentina, he is able to turn a match around.  “We will face an outstanding player and we will see if we are able to compete at the highest level.” Domenech, who is banking on an impressive front line to rebuild his team following an embarrassing first-round exit at Euro 2008, admitted he was a great admirer of Maradona.

“I dreamed when I was watching him play, like everyone, even if I’m now facing him as a coach,” he said.

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