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Argentina 2-0 Greece

Messi delighted with armband honour

June 23, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Lionel Messi has spoken of his joy at being Argentina captain for the first time after standing in as skipper in his side's 2-0 win over Greece.

Maradona and Messi, Argentina
GettyImagesDiego Maradona was happy with his choice of captain

• Report: Argentina 2-0 Greece
• Maradona wants an apology

Diego Maradona made a raft of changes for the Group B match with Argentina already through to the second round, including regular skipper Javier Mascherano.

Maradona said it would be a "sin" to deprive the world of Messi and although there were more experienced players left in his second-string line-up, Messi was given the armband to become the country's youngest captain two days short of his 23rd birthday.

"It was a unique experience - something very special,'' said Messi. "As soon as I knew about it it was just great, unique.''

Maradona admitted his side will face greater tests after their victory over Greece at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.

"Now the road gets more difficult,'' said Maradona. "You always hear about Germany, Italy, Brazil playing poorly, but they're always in the second round, quarters, semi-finals and the final.''

Meanwhile, 36-year-old Martin Palermo - the least heralded of Argentina's much-celebrated strikeforce - was delighted to have repaid Maradona's faith with a goal.

"This is priceless,'' said the Boca Juniors forward, who is behind Gonzalo Higuain, Diego Milito, Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero in the forwards pecking order. "I will always be grateful to Diego Maradona and to the staff for their confidence in me, knowing there are others ahead of me. My team-mates celebrated with me as if they had scored themselves.''