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Former Argentina coach shares his truth on Messi

Sampaoli breaks silence regarding experience with Messi in World Cup

October 9, 2018 By Oscar Rojas
The former Chile and La Albiceleste boss left no stone unturned when asked about the disappointing World Cup experience with Argentina.

For the first time since he resigned from Argentina's coaching job, Jorge Sampaoli shared his truth about what really happened in the team's concentration camp prior and during the World Cup, where reports of a mutiny flooded newspapers and websites all over the world.

In an interview published by Marca, Sampaoli addressed the reasons why La Albiceleste failed to impress in the competition, which ended in the team's exit during the Round of 16 against would-be champion France.

According to Sampaoli, the pressure to which the team was subject before and during the competition was too much for his players to handle.

"The National Team is a place where there's a sense of immediacy, whjere everyone of us was forced to win, there was no room for any mistakes, and changing that was really hard. The 'baggage' this team carried was too heavy, the pressure made it too hard for talent to emerge," Sampaoli stated.

The Argentine tactician blamed those who leaked news to the press during the World Cup, especially those referring to the players' meetings without anyone from his staff present, as those reports represented a disturbance for everyone, including his footballers.

"Their meetings were always something positive, but things that were out of our control got inside our training camp. I was not mad about the players holding meetings between them, I was mad when those meetings were blown out of proportion by the media. The players that won the 1986 World Cup for Argentina had meetings, but we knew about them 20 years later," Sampaoli explained.

"After their meetings, my staff and I talked with the players to find solutions, but if that ends up being a subject in the living room of a house or on social media, then you won't find any solutions, it will all go down the drain. We got quite skeptical about each other's imput after that," the coach added.

Then, Sampaoli referred to Lionel Messi's performance during the competition. Judging by his words, Sampaoli seems to hold no grudge against "La Pulga", since he praised his commitment to the group and to the national team.

"The best player in history was all business. Leo suffered the most for not being able to help. He really wanted to make things work. Having him around forces you to live up to the hype, sometimes you can and sometimes you can't. Coaching Leo leaves no room for mistakes and forces you to win," Sampaoli said.

Before the interview concluded, Sampaoli urged fans to stop asking for immediate results, especially if Messi returns. Why? Because thinking about the big picture will help the team build its confidence in order to end their 25-year drought without any major trophies.

"We can believe Messi can lead us to the World Cup title even at 35 (his age in the 2022 WC). But fans have to understand that everything is part of a process, we can't start fresh everytime we fail, we have to stop thinking that if you don't win the first time, you're a loser and you're done. We have to make our players believe in themselves," Sampaoli concluded.

 

 


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