A new digital book has revealed all the details of the explosive confrontation between captain Lionel Messi and then-coach Jorge Sampaoli during the FIFA World Cup 2018 match against Croatia.
Days after Jorge Sampaoli was sacked as the head coach of Argentina following their round-of-16 exit from FIFA World Cup 2018, an explosive confrontation between captain Lionel Messi and the boss, has been revealed in a new digital book named ‘Mundial es Historias’.
Argentina had a doomed World Cup campaign in Russia. In their Group-B opener, they started off with a 1-1 draw against debutants Iceland, before a thrashing 3-0 defeat to Croatia that put them on the brink of an early exit. La Albiceleste required just a win against Nigeria to go ahead and Messi’s inspirational goal followed by Marcos Rojo’s strike sent Argentina to the last 16.
However, their faults were cracked open by France who rode on Kylian Mbappe’s stunning brace to edge past Argentina 4-3 in a roller-coaster of a battle at Kazan Arena and thus end Messi’s dream of adding a World Cup trophy to his resume, shattered on the ground.
Following the heavy 3-0 loss to Croatia, reports of a dressing-room tussle between the senior players and the coach, whispered out. In fact, Javier Mascherano had revealed the same in a presser saying that the team had approached Argentina FA to talk about the matter.
And now, a journalist named Ariel Senosiain, who works with Argentina’s TYC Sport and is also a columnist for national sports newspaper Ole, revealed it all in his book titled ‘Mundial es Historias’.
According to the book, the conversation goes as follows…
Team: We do not get what you say. We no longer trust you. We want to have an opinion.
Sampaoli: On What?
Sampaoli: so you are going to put the team together, direct in training, everything?
Messi: You have asked me ten times which players I wanted in the line-up and which I didn’t, and I never gave you a single name. Tell me, in front of everyone, if I ever gave you any names.
Claudio Tapia, president of the AFA, who was also present inside the dressing room told Sampaoli after the row, “You have to give in.”
Abiding by the advice of the board, Sampaoli had, in fact, asked Messi in the match against Nigeria whether he should send in Sergio Aguero when the match was tied at 1-1 in the second-half. Footage revealed his exact words to be: “Flea [Messi], what do I do? I put on Kun?” Well, it was Rojo who scored a stunning volley off a corner from Aguero to assure Argentina’s berth in the final 16.