He may be the captain of Colombia, but Hristo Stoichkov does not rate James Rodriguez.
Outspoken former Barcelona forward Hristo Stoichkov has described James Rodriguez as an "average player", warning the Real Madrid midfielder to improve or risk becoming just another footballer at the European champions.
James played a starring role for Colombia at the Copa America Centenario in the United States, helping his country to third place at the centenary tournament, however 2015-16 was a season of disappointment in Madrid.
The 24-year-old fell out of favour following Zinedine Zidane's arrival in January, losing his starting berth as Madrid went on to win the Champions League, with Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric preferred in a three-man midfield.
But ex-Bulgaria international Stoichkov - who won five La Liga titles with Barca as well as the European Cup - has no sympathy for James.
Despite another final defeat at the Copa America Centenario, Gerardo Martino will lead Argentina in their quest for gold in Brazil.
Gerardo Martino will stay on as Argentina coach for the Olympic Games in Rio, the Argentinian Football Association (AFA) has confirmed.
For the second successive year, Argentina suffered a penalty shoot-out defeat to Chile in the Copa America final at MetLife Stadium last Sunday.
In the wake of the loss Lionel Messi announced his international retirement, while the futures of Javier Mascherano, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria in the squad remain uncertain.
Martino's position, too, came into question, but the AFA has assured he will guide the Under-23 team in their quest for another gold medal.
"Gerardo Martino and his coaching staff will return to work next Monday [July 4], in command of the Under-23 national team that will go to Rio 2016," a tweet from the Argentina national team's official account announced.
Despite his crucial penalty miss in the Copa America final, Dani Alves has urged Lionel Messi to move on quickly.
Dani Alves has told former Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi to ignore his critics after his Copa America final penalty miss.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner failed from the spot in Argentina's shootout defeat to Chile and announced his international retirement after Sunday's game.
Messi lost all four of his major finals with his national team and this was a third in three years, coming after the 2014 World Cup defeat to Germany and another setback against Chile in the 2015 Copa.
However, Alves, who has this week joined Juventus from Barca, had comforting words for his great friend.
"I did not see the end because it was late and I had commitments," he said. "No one can take away Leo's greatness.
"It's a pleasure to be his friend. He must be with people who respect him and not with those who disparage him.
Lionel Messi called time on his Argentina career following the Copa America Centenario loss, but Oscar Ruggeri hopes he can be talked back.
Argentina cannot afford to let Lionel Messi retire from international football, insists Oscar Ruggeri.
Messi, who became his country's all-time highest scorer with his 55th international strike in the semi-final win over the United States, missed a spot-kick as Argentina were beaten 4-2 on penalties by Chile in the Copa America Centenario final on Sunday.
Having also been on the losing side in finals at the 2007 and 2015 Copa America, as well as the 2014 World Cup, the 29-year-old brought his international career to an end in the aftermath of the defeat at MetLife Stadium.
However, Ruggeri, a World Cup winner in 1986 and part of the last Argentina side to win a major trophy at Copa America 1993, hopes Messi's participation can salvaged in future.
Hristo Stoichkov used social media to ask Lionel Messi to reverse his decision to retire from international football.
Former Barcelona striker Hristo Stoichkov has called upon Lionel Messi to reconsider his decision to retire from international football, saying: "You can get through this".
Messi reacted to Argentina's 4-2 penalty shoot-out defeat to Chile in the Copa America final on Sunday by announcing "for me the national team is over", effectively ending his international career with just one Olympic gold medal to show for it.
The defeat extended Argentina's wait for a major tournament title to 23 years but former Nou Camp favourite Stoichkov, who scored 38 goals in 84 appearances for Bulgaria, sent Messi a personal message imploring him to keep faith with international football.
Stoichkov took to social media to send Messi a message that read: "Leo, I ask please do not leave your country.
Antoine Griezmann offered his sympathy for Lionel Messi after the Barcelona star called time on his international career.
France striker Antoine Griezmann has described Lionel Messi's decision to retire from international football as "frustrating and sad".
Messi announced that Argentina's Copa America Centenario final penalty shoot-out defeat to Chile on Sunday would be his last appearance for his country.
The decision brings an end to a disappointing international career for Messi, whose only major honour for Argentina came in the form of a gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in China.
Griezmann and Messi have been rivals at club level in recent seasons, and the Frenchman was only four goals behind the Barcelona star in La Liga's goal table with his 22 strikes for Atletico Madrid last season.
Of Messi's decision, Griezmann said: "He must have his reasons. I think he lost three or four finals.
The Argentinian Football Association (AFA) is in a state of disarray, and the retirement of star forward Lionel Messi adds to their trouble.
Argentinian football is imploding, and Lionel Messi's international retirement will put more focus than ever on the national Football Association (AFA).
This was supposed to be the year. Argentina's last senior international trophy came in 1993, when a double from Gabriel Batistuta - who Messi surpassed as their record goalscorer with his 55th strike in the Copa America Centenario semi-final against United States - guided La Albiceleste to the Copa trophy with a 2-1 win over Mexico.
After the disappointment of losing the 2014 World Cup final to Germany in extra time and the Copa showpiece to Chile the following year, not forgetting defeat at the final hurdle in the 2007 edition, 2016 looked like time to end the 23-year drought.
Lionel Messi sensationally announced his intention to retire from internationals, but Claudio Bravo wants him to reconsider.
Chile's Copa America-winning goalkeeper Claudio Bravo hopes Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi rethinks his decision to retire from international football and continues playing for Argentina.
Emotional captain Messi stunned the football world after Argentina's 4-2 penalty shoot-out loss to Chile in Sunday's Copa America Centenario final, announcing his intention to walk away from national team duty.
Messi – the country's all-time leading goalscorer – was in tears post-match following his unsuccessful spot-kick, which led to a third consecutive final defeat for Argentina.
But Bravo, who plays alongside the five-time Ballon d'Or winner at Camp Nou, is holding onto hope that the 29-year-old will add to his 113 caps.