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Maradona dream - to coach Barca
"My little dream would be one day to coach Leo at Barca," Maradona told Marca in an interview published Monday.
Maradona, world champion in 1986, has already coached Messi during a two-year spell in charge of the national side culminating in a disappointing 2010 World Cup.
The 52-year-old meanwhile defended Messi, who has come in for some rare criticism in recent games - including a Champions League loss at AC Milan and a pair of reverses to Real Madrid.
"I don't think you have the right to 'kill' Messi on the basis of two poor games given all his goals across the season," said Maradona.
Although Barca have a healthy lead atop La Liga, their 2-0 loss to the Milanese threatens to end this season's European ambitions and Maradona said he regretted their mini slump and also the departure of Pep Guardiola as coach at the end of last season.
"Barca have lost it totally with his departure. Instead of three touches of the ball and then a shot on goal they are now doing something else. They indulge in senseless touches," opined Maradona, who himself had mixed fortunes in Catalonia.
He won a Spanish Cup but stayed only for two injury-hit seasons before going on to find greater success and acclaim with Napoli.
Maradona said in his view Barca appeared "tired," perhaps because of poor preparation for the season.
"Barca had a very bad pre-season. They went off to play friendlies for which they were paid a small fortune in China, Malaysia, or wherever," he sniffed.
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