Argentina’s World Cup squad is the “worst in their history” and not even “the best player in the world” can make them competitive, says Ossie Ardiles.
Thursday’s 3-0 defeat by Croatia has put Jorge Sampaoli’s side at risk of an early exit from the tournament.
World Cup winner Ardiles, 65, criticised Sampaoli’s tactics and over reliance on captain Lionel Messi.
The former Argentine midfielder said the “prestige” of the two-time World Champions had been “thrown overboard”.
“From world champion to being the worst national team in Argentina history. Where to begin?” the former Tottenham player tweeted.
Argentina, who drew their first group game 1-1 with Iceland, are no longer in control of their own destiny in reaching the last-16, with one game remaining against Nigeria on Tuesday.
‘There is no plan B’
Messi, Argentina’s record goalscorer with 64, scored a hat-trick in their final qualifying game to secure his country’s place in Russia.
But the Barcelona forward, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, has struggled so far in the tournament and missed a penalty against Iceland.
After the Croatia defeat, Sampaoli said the rest of the team “clouds Messi’s brilliance” and that “the team doesn’t gel as well as it should”.
Ardiles, who won the World Cup in 1978, called Sampaoli “dreadful, arrogant and ignorant”.
“Even having the best player in the world was not capable of creating a competitive team,” said Ardiles.
“Plan A of Sampaoli. Give the ball to Messi and wait for a miracle. If Plan A doesn’t work, Plan B. Errr. There is no plan B. Let alone plan C or D.
“All the decline of recent times was hidden by this unrivalled genius [Messi].”