Angel DI MARIA: “Argentina is always one of the favorites”


Argentina’s Angel DI MARIA gave an interview with SC.QA and spoke about a few topics.

While on a recent winter training camp in Doha, Qatar, the Argentinian spoke with about the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the 2018 FIFA World Cup and Lionel MESSI. Regarding the 2022 World Cup which will be held in Qatar, the PSG man had this to say:

“It will be a very important World Cup. The stadiums are very impressive and I know the tournament will be a big boost for the Arab world. I have been to Doha a few times, and every time, I have been received very well, both on a personal level and with the team.”

Regarding Qatar’s plans to have a “compact” World Cup with less travelling, DI MARIA, now a veteran of two World Cup’s, gave his thoughts on it:

“I have played in World Cups in countries which are very big and having to take long journeys is difficult and complicated for the team. It is very important to have a compact World Cup, as it will be a lot more comfortable for the players.”

Argentina’s already tasted glory in Qatar, having won the 1995 U20 World Cup with coach Jose PEKERMAN and Juan Pablo SORIN on the team.

“I hope we can repeat the success of 1995. We have the World Cup coming up this year, which we can aim to win, and if we win in Russia, hopefully we can win in Qatar as well.”

Juan Pablo Sorin Argentina
Juan Pablo Sorin lifting the U20 World Cup in Qatar in 1995. Photo via Gulf-Times.

Regarding the 2018 FIFA World Cup:

“Argentina is always one of the favourites, first of all because we have Lionel MESSI. There are other teams playing at a high level, like Spain and France, but Argentina is among the best. We have to keep working hard to remain at the top level. World Cup tournaments are always different to the qualifying rounds. If you don’t win, you go home, and that makes the games very special.”

DI MARIA also praised Lionel MESSI, calling him the best player in history.

“MESSI is already the greatest. Winning the World Cup would validate him, but he is already the best. Hopefully, football will give Messi this World Cup – it would be good for everyone. MESSI has achieved everything in his career – the only thing missing is a World Cup. Obviously, as an Argentine and a team-mate of his, I would love for it to happen in Russia.”

Angel DI MARIA’s interview:


  1. Lo Celso is getting more and more impressive with each match.Its a relatively less competitive league but still getting good match time with all the star players around him. He is learning a lot at PSG. Will be a great addition into our Midfield for a long time.

    • It’s above my expectation to see him in the starting so soon. I can see him more comfortable with his new role of holding midfielder: tackle a lot, involve a lot in the defensive work and in the heart of the team. 20 years ago, it is always necessary to have a defensive midfielder like Makelele, Vieira and Davids. In the modern football now, a less physical player can take this role because the defensive work is much more shared, passing is almost as important as tackling. Same for attackers, no more traditional number 10, the playmaking job is shared between forward, wingers and central midfielders.

      As I said previously in some posts, he is the only midfielder able to play in all positions in the midfield. This offers a lot of options to Sampaoli:

      – 3-4-2-1: Lo Celso + Kranevitter/Biglia/Pizarro, with the energetic wingers Salvio and Acuna, this give a lot of freedom to Di Maria and Messi

      – 3-3-3-1: like in PSG, Lo Celso + 2 box to box types, I can see only Enzo Perez fit for this, the other place will be between Banega, Paredes and why not Lanzini even though I have never seen him playing so deep but he has definitely the quality to do that. If Sampaoli wants to go for more conservative, he may use Kranevitter/Biglia as holding, Lo Celso + Enzo as box to box.

      In any case, seems to me that he should be part of the national team and even in the starting XI.

      • Actually I too was never expecting Lo Celso to start playing for us so soon, He was always talented but Suddenly he is a front runner in our Midfield he deserves it because of his consistent showing at PSG. Right now he is above Pastore, Lamela, Paredes and Lanzini in the Pecking order for the NT. May be we will see a Lanzini-Lo Celso combo for the March friendlies.

        And I think Biglia-Enzo combo is fixed in the Middle whoever the 3rd guy is he will be added to the Midfield Banega was obviously the first choice now that he didn’t take his chance either Lanzini or Lo Celso can make a claim, but i don’t think Sampa would entirely drop a Player like Banega from the WC 23, But still never know he has said that only Messi is irreplaceable. Have a great feeling for Lo Celso now. Paredes did a mistake by choosing Russia in my opinion.

        • Paredes did not make a mistake by going to Russia. He is way better now than he was at Roma. Mancini improved him already and he plays regular football there. He is our best midfielder when it comes to distribution and incisive passing. He is also press resistant, does not loose the ball under pressure.

          • i feel sorry for paredes.he isn’t given a place by sampaoli but is only one who possess regista capability.
            paredes-lo celso-lanzini is the combo we need.

          • I think sometimes the players have to fight for their spot in bigger Clubs. Like Lo Celso doing right now, He didn’t had this many chances to play last year but he still sticked in PSG, Angel Correa is another example, Vietto, Kranevitter etc couldn’t cope with Simeone’s strict training but Angel did and now he is reaping the benefit. Saying that not all players can do that, In Paredes case he is way talented to be in Russian League.

            He Should have been tested in at least one of our last friendlies & Sampa is int even visiting Russia to chat with those playing there, He is already back in the pecking order behind Lo Celso & Lanzini i think. I like him the most among the upcoming playmakers he is unique i think somebody similar to Veron or even Riquelme..

  2. At Espnayol game vs Barcelona, Messi played his worst game of the entire year. Hence if you analysis, Messi was missing jordi alba who has great chemistry with Messi and also who allow Messi some free space. I believe Sampaoli is visiting barca so often to find a way to maximize Messi, hence he is constantly looking for MEssi partnership. Player like Di maria who do not perform consistently however could be helpful to team that can free up the space. Messi played best game in Ecuador for Argentina and if you look, link up between Messi and di mari was exceptional. So if sampoali find a right combo to support messi and short up the defense, i believe Argentina has shot at world cup. Even teams like Brazil would not dear to attach too much to Argentina simply because we has Messi and front fire power. So sampoali needs to utilize this weapon for WC Russia. That is my simple opinion.

  3. Messi is still in his prime and will be in great condition come the 2018 world cup. There is no footballer on planet earth playing better than Messi at this moment, so if this is not prime Messi then what does that say about the other players around the globe who are below him? Xavi at the 2010 world cup was 30 years old, and that was the peak of his playing career. Messi is 30 years old heading into the 2018 world cup at the peak of his career. So what if Messi missed a pk against Espanyol? How does Messi missing a pk tell us he is past is prime and getting older? This argument makes absolutely no sense. It could be a blessing in disguise for both Messi and Argentina if Barcelona exit the Spanish COPA, this would be one less tournament for Messi to be involve in heading into the world cup. On Argentina national team prospective, do we as fans want to see Messi playing in a Copa Del Rey tournament in a world cup year when there is already a tough La Liga and UCL schedule ahead for Barcelona? I do hope Barcelona exit the meaningless CDR/Kings Cup tournament by the hands of Espanyol. Some folks here really have short memories, it was not too long ago Messi and Barcelona won at the Bernabeu where Messi scored a pk in a more pressure driven situation than the Kings Cup game against Espanyol. Also, hitting the post does not suggest Messi is past his prime or his getting older. The guy is top scorer in La Liga, what more can you ask of him? In my honest opinion, I’m not interesting in seeing Messi winning another water down Copa Del Rey/Kings Cup title with Barcelona. And I do hope Espanyol knock Barcelona out, this would be three less games for Messi with Barcelona which would include two tough semi games (home and away) and a possible final show down which always bring out the emotions on both sides participating. Who want to see all this drama leading up to the world cup?

    Why do you guys always pick apart every single game frame by frame on every single giving day to justified a player inclusion on the national team? These guys are playing an average of around 60 games per season. No one can expect these players to show up every single club game in an entire season and put on a super human performance game after game. Let’s use Aguero for example; he did have a below par game against Liverpool, but at the end of the day, the game should not define his current season and his overall career especially given how easily Manchester City is currently running away with the EPL title. We need guys like Aguero to show up fit for Argentina in Russia 2018, I don’t need Aguero to prove anything for me while playing for Pep Guardiola and Man City in the year 2018, because at the end of the day, it only benefits Manchester City season and not Argentina.

    Some people here try to act as if the other major football national teams do not have their own pressing issues and problems. Let’s stop pretending like the Argentina national team is on a runway crisis to the bottom. Are there some issues with the team? Sure, but it is often overblown on this website. You see, facts are the most important thing in this discussion. In our past three tournaments, Argentina defense was the best part of the team by a long shot, and I have no doubt this tradition will hold true in Russia this year.

    Being that everything is so bad with Argentina, let’s see how some of the major club teams are performing currently with a lot of 2018 world cup players:

    1. Real Madrid is a Joke right now; Verane, Ramos, Carvajal, Marcelo, Kroos, Modric, Ronaldo, Isco, Benzema, Navas, Casemiro etc. have all been atrocious in 2018.

    2. Atletico Madrid: They got eliminated from the UCL and their team is loaded with world cup participant. We know all the Spanish, French and Brazilian players who mostly start for them.

    3. Messi has been carrying this Barcelona team for a plurality of the 2017/2018 season. Messi rose his level after Neymar departure, it’s not like the other Barcelona players are playing great football. Jordi Alba and Ter Stegen are the only exception.

    4. Chelsea has been a joke this season.

    5. Manchester United is having a below par season as usual. (“What constitutes a great signing?” Heynckes asked. “Paul Pogba cost Manchester United €105 million. Is he playing like [a great signing]?”)

    6. Arsenal is a Joke

    7. Borussia Dortmund is a joke

    8. Bayern Munich has no competition in Germany with a lot of key players not performing consistently. i.e Muller.

    9. Manchester City only looks good because the rest of the EPL is playing average and Chelsea is a perfect example given they won the league last season.

    10. PSG is playing in a mediocre league where it’s hard to judge player’s performance especially the ones who never been outside of Lique one.

    11. Juventus has been struggling for much of the 2017/2018 season especially in defensive.

    12. Inter Milan is on a downward spiral after a great start.

    13. AC Milan is a Joke.

    14.Monaco is a joke

    15. Liverpool despite besting Manchester City they can’t seem to stop conceding goals, and are still way behind leaders Manchester City.

    Now someone please tell me, is this current European football season anything to brag about when most of the non-Argentinean players are not doing so well? Take off the blind fold people, there are a lot of international players from France, Spain, Brazil, Germany, Belgium, England, Portugal etc. who are all doing poorly at club football this season. Let’s stop pretending as if Argentina is the only national team with problems. For example; it doesn’t matter for Germany if Draxler is a bench warmer for PSG and Muller is not having the greatest time at Bayern Munich, because What Muller, Draxler and the rest of their German team mates have in common is that these guys always show up for their national flag irrespective of their club form. Argentina got outshone by Gotze of all player at the 2014 world cup, a guy who was spending most of his time on the bench at his club leading up to the 2014 world cup. Palacio had more goals than Klose and Gotze heading into the 2014 world cup, and he was Argentina 4th striker. As I have said before, club form is no indication of how well a team will do at the world cup. Argentina always go into past world cups flying high, only to fall short. This should be the year where all the players show up for their national team given the situation they find themselves in at their respective clubs. People are doubting the team and this make the occasion in Russia even more special. The world cup is the only thing keeping me interested in football right now (not club football), if Argentina win the world cup in 2018 I’ll definitely take a break from watching the game and use my time on something else. If Argentina don’t win in 2018, I’ll likely take an indefinite break from football.

    • Winning world cup is not that easy Messi mayb still best in the world but 2010-11 messi under pep was better and sampaoli still not sure about the team whom to play he has many headache like playing Messi dybala together or going another root which formation to opt for world cup who to play in midfield etc and building team chemistry not gonna be easy in so short time lets see he can manage that or not our group is also tough

      • @anuparno, yes Messi was better under pep but i think this Messi is more important to Argentina than younger one. Messi has matured so much in his playing abilities, it will only help Argentina less so to barca.

    • Yuppp one example always comes to mind is GAGO he always plays great for the NT even though his club career always in trouble. Excellent points by the way.

      • You can also add Maxi Rodríguez and Lavezzi to that list of players who always give their all for the Argentina national team irrespective of what is happening with them at club football. We need more players like these guys for the Argentina national team. Another one that go way back is Killy Gonzalez. For me, Mercardo is one of these players, he is not flashy or carry the big name at club level, but he always gets the job done professionally for Argentina when called upon.

  4. If Argentina has to win this wc then sampaoli has to manage a good team with solid defense otherwise messi cant win it alone need 6-7 players to perform high level

  5. Messi is also not in his prime he passed his prime he missing penalties hitting cross bar a lot even those solo runs is missing passing improved but age is catching up with him and velverde not rotating him properly so he may get exhausted come world cup I’m hopeful but it is the painful truth

  6. 21 years old Ignacio Pussetto from Huracan on radar of Benfica, Genoa and Bologna. He is one of best young players in Argentina now. At least after stats. Tall, lank winger.

  7. We are not among favorites this time around sampaoli still don’t know whom to select and whom to play don’t have enough time to understand each other and play as a team we have weaknesses in defense midfield and strangely even in scoring goals winning this world cup will be close to a miracle don’t forget we have super tough road to final no respite

    • We have already few much promising players for U-20 WC next year.

      While Boca with many famous players (also Tevez back again) kicked out of Torneo de Verano.

  8. Hi guys!I think there is some goalkeeping problems in NT.Apart from Romero I can’ t believe anyone.So what’s your stand on Franco Armani who recently joined River plate or is there anyone who deserve NT and is on sampoli’s radar.

    • Obviously, Mercado-Garay-Otamendi will be a great defense. But he refused to play for the national team when it was in trouble during the last few games of qualification. Who has the right to choose the match to play? When Maradona was still a player, he never did that to his team. I don’t see him deserved this jersey again.

      • Ya we have better option regarding sampaoli system hot his system we need speedy technical defenders yes he is technical but little slow so I hv some doubts also

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