Martino: Messi can inspire Argentina success

Argentina star Lionel Messi can lead his side to FIFA World Cup glory, former Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino has claimed.

Martino has recently been replaced by Luis Enrique in the Camp Nou top job after the Catalan giants failed to win a major trophy last season.

But after watching Messi at close quarters throughout the campaign, he is convinced his compatriot can fire Argentina to their first World Cup success since 1986.

"He's only (a) 27-year-old (Messi is actually 26) and can still beat many records," he is quoted as saying by Football Espana.

"The World Cup is at an optimal time. It's time for this generation of players to win the World Cup.

"Argentina has a lot of strength and is very competitive."

Messi scored 10 goals in 14 World Cup qualifying appearances and will captain his country at the finals, where they will play Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria in Group F.