Claudio TAPIA talks MESSI, DYBALA, ARMANI, Argentina, more

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Claudio Tapia, AFA President
Claudio Tapia, AFA President

AFA president Claudio TAPIA gave a great interview with Alejandro CASAR on La Nacion. Here are some of the most interesting quotes from the interview.

On the current state of the national team and challenges facing them as they prepare for the World Cup.

“Football has balanced out a great deal. I believe in the team. We have the best player in the world, but we have to help him out. He is not going to be able to do it by himself. MESSI is very mature now. To have him is a privilege but we have to be aware that this qualifying cycle was very difficult. He didn’t play in seven matches, it could have been 10 if the suspension was upheld. He’s the best and has the ambition and obligation to win the World Cup. This generation also feels that same obligation and as do we.

“We need time because Argentina was the only national team in the world to have three coaches during World Cup Qualifiers and qualify for the World Cup. The rest of the national teams have at least four years working together. So we are at a disadvantage. This is all about work. This is all about incorporating concepts, ideas, synchronization of style. This is not easy. We are coming off a couple of matches where we just changed a system of play.”

On Paulo DYBALA’s situation with the Argentina National Team.

“I am not sure if Paulo DYBALA will go, but I do believe in generational changes. That started occurring when Tata MARTINO was the coach. Unfortunately, due to sporting necessities, that didn’t happen. It’s not the same thing playing on the national team than with your club. DYBALA, like many young players, is the future of Argentine football. They are very important players in their leagues where they make a difference. I believe we should give them more experience. We have a sporting emergency right now, that is to win the World Cup. We have to have the players that have the necessary experience and know what they can do. That’s the coaching staff’s responsibility.”

The expectation on Argentina at the World Cup in Russia.

“A good World Cup will be to be amongst the top four. If we don’t get there, it is a bad one. A failure would be to get knocked out in the group stage.”

On his thought after Argentina’s 6-1 loss to Spain.

“I am calm after the loss to Spain. We had to think about that match knowing we weren’t playing against the Azzurri. If we didn’t have a penalty in our contract so steep, we would have just played Spain instead of both. I was more worried about the loss to Nigeria. In that match, we had 10 world class players. If you wanted to play to beat Spain, the lineup would have had to be a different one and the purpose of those matches was to see players that didn’t have the chance to be called up before.”

Why the AFA arranged two tough fixtures as part of the World Cup preparation.

“After the match vs. Singapore, we spoke with Jorge SAMPAOLI and he said he wanted to play competitive sides. We just fulfilled his wishes. If we had the chance to play against a less competitive side, we would have done it. We played Italy for the money were paid and had to keep in mind the penalty we would have had to pay, it was an obligation to play them.”

On the progress made by Jorge SAMPAOLI so far.

“I’m happy. SAMPAOLI has a contract until 2022. We understand that projects are what will bring Argentina back to what they always had. There’s no mystery, there’s no chance to improve short term. Things will only improve with work. You have to work towards the future, with long-term thinking, like the serious national teams do.”

On Pablo AIMAR’s role in the national team.

“AIMAR will accompany the national team, he is not SAMPAOLI’s assistant. That’s BECCACECE. Despite there being lots of pessimists, we plan to get to the final phases of the World Cup. It is a very quick tournament. BECCACECE is the sparring team’s coach as well as the U20.”

On the preparation of the coaching staff for the World Cup.

“The coaching staff will define the lists this week. (SAMPAOLI) has the idea of setting up the 23-man list. I think it’s better to have a 35-man list. But I do think he should begin talking to his 23 or the 27 he thinks should be there because you never know what might happen.”

On the prospect of Franco ARMANI being called for Argentina.

“I think ARMANI is a good goalkeeper, he has improved. Maybe in the first few matches he didn’t look too good but now he’s in tremendous form.”

On Javier MASCHERANO’s future with the National Team.

“I can’t analyze one player because a match was lost 6-1. It’s a team game. What you do know is what MASCHERANO offers and what he represents to the team. He’s a player with experience on our team. He’s been here since he was a kid and is important in the World Cup.”

On Gonzalo HIGUAIN being called up despite plenty of criticism.

“I think Gonzalo HIGUAIN is a great player. He’s played the last two World Cups. Goalscorers have streaks where they don’t score. But against Italy, he had a great match. He’s important to have in the World Cup.”

On the business aspect within the AFA and Argentina.

“We’ve asked for resources (money) well in advance. The national team is not good business. I believe that after we qualified and this administration was established, I believe that AFA has been able to renegotiate with those that anticipated that money, the TV rights owners. But the national team is not a great business. We are improving our finances via negotiations, by improving sponsorship deals and with clubs’ debts. I don’t think that finances will be fixed with a good World Cup. It helps, but it won’t save it.”

A big thanks to Juan ARANGO for translating the interview via his Twitter account. Do give him a follow.

32 COMMENTS

  1. Sampaoli is having lots of problems.He just cannot understand its argentina not chile where there is only 30 players playing in europe or chilian league. Apart from this we are lots of good players playing across the world
    he have to choose the correct player according to his tactics through which argentina will play in next world cup.choose the correct tactics and than choose the players who will perform in that tactics. Tactics and gameplan will be the key for this world cup along with the right players.

  2. What happened to Aguero again? 1-1.5 months out? This is what i was talking about this guy! He is a wasted spot! Plain and simple! Yes he is world class but he will be unfit or injured so what is the meaning of calling him? It is not like we don’t have options especially when we have Icardi! It is not about Icardi for me it is about Argentina and calling the most suitable players possible, i don’t care if is Icarci or whoever could be, i just want a striker who can convert half a chance into a goal and according to that Icardi is the man on the contrary to Higuain!

    As i said before, you can throw my opinion out of the window but keep in mind what all time greats such as Zanetti, Crespo and the best 9 ever Batistuta have said about Icardi! They probably know something don’t you think?

      • Kid, i agree with you that we need a team my friend.
        But judging Icardi for his limited chances and especially about the aforementioned games where every single player of ours failed is way too unfair.

        Higuain was a flop way too many times with much more games than Icardi and Aguero was injured almost every time we needed him.

        I don’t really care about Icardi, i only care about our beloved team and exactly because we need a team that is why i am saying this.

      • Again, Icardi and Dybala weren’t flops in those games! They’re strikers and strikers need service and when the central midfield consisted of Banega and Biglia that was never gonna happen.
        But no worries kid, because you’re gonna get your wish with Higuain, Aguero, Biglia, Mascherano, Banega and Rojo all likely to be going to Russia and when that happens and Argentina gets knocked out of the first round or at best the quarter final I don’t want to see you here complaining about how the team let you down.

          • kid, what you’re asking me is to have blind faith and I simply can’t do that.
            Look I really like and respect Pipita, Rojo, Masch, Biglia and to a lesser extent Banega because they’ve all stepped up for Argentina at different times in competitive games but these guys are done and well past their expiration dates and since they’re certainly going to russia i will tell you right now that if 3 or more of them start for Argentina then this will be a 2002 first round exit all over again.

  3. Tapia’s interview signals that Dybala will not go… Sampaoli signaled Icardi will not go. Even a child knows these 2 players are required atleast as subs if you are hesitant to start them. It is plain and simple, Argentina destroyed Argentina no one else. Mascherano needs to be kicked out along with many an old leg in there. Messi, for heavens sake stop believing in ‘your friends’

  4. I just read some online Newspaper which gives 34 names out of 35 where I couldn’t see the name of Garay so it seems that Sampaoli might not call Garay and Icardi both. By looking at the lists, really don’t know how he manages back line and also not sure of who gonna be the team number 9.
    In other news, it is being said, Aguero could miss the World Cup due to knee Injury. So, this time everything is seen being unsettled.
    By God bless(om sai ram), let’s hope Argentina wins the 2018 World Cup which I have been praying since 1998 when I understood Football literally.

  5. Argentina 35 should be young and hungry

    1- Romero WC final experience
    2- Armani
    3- Willy
    4- Guzmann/ Rulli

    5- Garay
    6- Otamendi
    7- Mercado
    8- Acuna
    9- Tagliafico
    10- Ansaldi
    11- Rojo
    12- Fazio
    13- Mori/ Pezzella/ Bustos

    14- Lanzini
    15- Dimaria
    16- Pizzaaro
    17- ENZO / Pablo / Augusto / Battaglia
    18- Mascherano
    19- Meza
    20- Lo cleso
    21- Perroti
    22- Pavon
    23- A. Correa
    24- J. Correa
    25- Lamela
    26- Banega
    27- Salvio
    28- Paredes

    29- Messi

    30- Aguero
    31- Dybala
    32- Martinez
    33- Icardi
    34- Acosta
    35- Alario / Rigoni

    Higuain and Biglia are waste. No pace and cant press 90min
    Pls Higuain and Biglia OUT

  6. I have a feeling that Higuian will do fine this time after cursing him all the while. There is a strange calm this time around. It looks Sampa has a clear plan and Spain friendly was to deceive Media and opposition. Real Argentina you will see from knock out stages onwards. I work in IT industry and have colleagues in Brazil, Germany, Argentina, France etc Brazilians and Germans are more worried about Argentina. They both fear for Thier Defence. To them Argentina is Dark horse.

    • brother
      please do not try to convince your self about higuain. this man is mentally weak even with when he was with napoli. even with juventus. he just can not score in big games. we do not need to give him another chance. we have other players who can score goals. no more higuain please.

    • Hey dude.
      You point of view abt Higuain Will not change unless you realize the reality

      Higuain played for Real madrid. And they never won UCL
      When he left, Real started winning thrice in past 4years

      Higuain played for Juventus as main Striker dumbing Mandzukic
      They lost finals last season and quater of UCL this season
      Juventus played great but if Higuain plays as STriker they wont win in their lifetime
      Hes suck a choker for Argentina as well
      Latest Spain friendly he missed silly chances which was assisted by young players.

      Now you force me to take HIGUAIN in WC SQUAD
      We have faced it in 4 final loses, Higuain cannot be our Striker
      And now hes in Peak years
      No pace and cant press 90min Like Suarez who press hard for Barca

      Even Icardi will be much better upgrade to Higuain
      Icardi no pace but killer inside the box
      Icardi can be good Super sub