Jorge SAMPAOLI press conference, talks MESSI, ICARDI, more


Argentina National Team coach Jorge SAMPAOLI held a press conference on Thursday in Manchester, England.

The Argentina man commented on a number of a subjects ahead of the match on Friday against Italy at the Etihad stadium. One of the topics of discussion was obviously Lionel MESSI but also Sergio AGUERO’s fitness as well as Mauro ICARDI and Paulo DYBALA. Here’s what he had to say:

Jorge SAMPAOLI press conference:

Jorge SAMPAOLI on Lionel MESSI:

“Leo (MESSI) has everything for this to be his team, not mine. I’m obliged to help the best player in the best way. For that reason I feel it’s his team.”

Jorge SAMPAOLI on Sergio AGUERO:

“It’s going to be hard for AGUERO to be fit for the match against Spain but we’ll try. It’s worth the effort. For me, Sergio AGUERO’s best version was when he was with Independiente and that’s the AGUERO I want. The one that resolves problems himself with his play and personality. Today’s version is sensational but I think he can get even better.”


“Mauro (ICARDI) was the chosen one. There’s a difference between ICARDIi’s partnerships in his club and with the National Team. Mauro’s case is similar to that of DYBALA’s. He’s a player we had chosen for something in the National Team but with the National Team, he didn’t have the footballing relationship with his team mates. I’m not counting him out, it gives me pride that he’s Argentine.”

Jorge SAMPAOLI on Gonzalo HIGUAIN:

Everything about HIGUAIN at the moment, I see that he has the potential to have a World Cup which would reflect him, that is to say one of the best center forwards in the world. If mentally, HIGUAIN will be the way he is now, at the level he’s showing in training and what he’s shown for his club, then for us it’s a real possibility that Argentina will have a very strong attack.”

Jorge SAMPAOLI on the goalkeepers:

“We have the idea of giving every goalkeeper some minutes because we have to evaluate them. The same thing for outfield players.


“Manuel LANZINI is a vital player.”

Jorge SAMPAOLI on the team:

“Today, the players are aware that the only way of playing the World Cup is by enjoying it. With the little time we have together, we have to work on shaping the defence. TAGLIAFICO and BUSTOS are more natural fullbacks for us.

“I still beleive Italy is a footballing force and the match on Friday could even be a semi-final of a World Cup.”


  1. I see a lot of idiots here who think Messi picks his team. When Sampaoli said this is Messi’s team he just echoed Pep. When the GOAT plays, any team would be his team – he would own the team. The team must play around him and the rest of the should be compatible with him. Pep got rid of Zlatan (a huge player himself) because he didn’t work within the system where Pep can utilize Messi fully. (Same fate could come for Icardi as well)

    Dybala was not selected mostly due to two reasons. 1 – he was injured for some time (and also out of form prior to the injury – but he has been in great form since coming back) and he was immature to say he thinks it is difficult for him to play in team where Messi plays as he also plays in that position. He should not have said that. If he plays in Messi’s position in his club, that is fine, but in the NT he should have adjusted on either wing so that he can complement Messi.

    Higuain was selected because he has been playing well for Juve. He has even started scoring important goals in the knockout this season. And if Dybala is picked, it would be good to select him as they both have good chemistry. Higuain also is more experienced compared to Icardi. Icardi also didn’t cement his place when he was selected (although he didn’t get much opportunities). Icardi was also a bit out of form until recently (mainly during the time Sampa was meeting players to select the squad for current friendlies).

    DiMaria has been playing well in 2018 and so is Aguero. The fact that they could not bring the WC under some other do not mean Sampa should not pick them. Sampaoli must pick the best players available and he is doing that. He is also trying young players.

    So all of you, just STFMU and be calm. Sampa knows what he is doing. We should be grateful that he is our coach. We got a real brave coach after a long time. He will select a squad which can bring us the CUP. I am also pretty sure this Argentina team would play the best football compared to the recent teams (since 2006). Rest everything is in the hand’s of almighty. I hope he showers his blessings and we get that little luck which every team needs (in the form of a tough goal, referee decision – incl no bad decision against) to win a trophy.

  2. ————–Romero—————

    —-maxi meza—-paredes—–Acuna—-



  3. I m sorry but all you who are angry what Sampa said are missing the point and possibly misunderstood what he said…what he is saying when he says this is Messi’s team, in short he is saying Messi is the reference point…this is hullabaloo needs to stop.

  4. I think we should bring all our stars to the wc including, Dybala, Icardi, Lautaro, Pavon, etc.

    Look at the last world cup when Higuain, Aguero and Di Maria were all unfit, and we did not have any other solution. We need to bring good backups, Dybala is a must!

    If Dybala is not in the wc and we failed to win it, Sampaoli will surely be blamed for not bringing Dybala.

  5. Honestly the same ol’crap, ‘build a team around messi’, injury prone pair of kun/Maria with choker pipita leading the charge, one dimensional biglia being undropable etc……..*sigh*
    It’s obvious that pipita is being picked ahead of Icardi and there is nothing one can do about it but I hope Dybala gets picked eventually and maybe Lautaro gets some minutes and goes ‘gabriel Jesus’ on Italy and Spain because having kun, maria and pipita as forwards won’t cut it.
    I also hope to dear god that Lanzini and Paredes do well because they have the skill to play a vital role in the WC.

    Argentina football team and Argentine football in general don’t belong to anyone!
    This team and every Argentina football team should not play for Messi or any other individual but for Argentine people first and then for Argentina fans from all over the world!

    Sampaoli will always have my respect for taking over as Argentina manager under the cir umstances and the state we were, but this kind of statements are way too irritating to me.

    May God rest Rene Houseman’s soul, a true champion!

  7. Why can’t the players do what they do and play football?
    Why do they have so much power?
    Why can’t the coach decide who he calls and why don’t the players accept the players the coach calls?
    At least we can give Sampaoli credit for being honest “It’s not my team, it’s Messi’s team” – “they din’t have a good relation with other players”.
    He is being truthful and blunt. He tried to bring change but was sabotaged and so admitted defeat.
    why do we always have to act like b**** made men?
    Why don’t we simply play f football?
    We got embarrassed many times, instead of learning and becoming humble we never change.
    Who is tired of politics and wants the players to play football and not interfere in the coaches decisions.
    who is tired of coaches leaving quality players at home because of personal agenda and not based on merit.
    I want to lift the trophy and if we fail I at least want us to do our best. leaving deserving players at home under instructions from some players is not doing our best.
    I mean where is your pride?
    do you want your team embarrassed just because you don’t like your collegue?
    It’s your pride and job to play with whomever is chosen and after that you can ignore them and do fun things with your friends.
    the football field is not for friends it is for warriors who try everything to give joy and bring pride to your team, your fans, your country who support you no matter what.
    but some people don’t care, don’t have pride,being embarrassed is something that doesn’t bother them, embarrassing their own people is nothing for them.
    we underachieved since the 90’s because of the same bullsh*t, hope it doesn’t end like that again because we are all tired of discussing what ifs, what if Redondo, what is diaz, what if zanetti,…
    Hope we win!

  8. I think we will see how these 2 friendly games go. If he sees changes, I hope he takes them.. i don’t mind icardi not being called, but dybala is a must.. he has a great partnership with hig, if that’s sampi new man up top. I don’t mind hig going. I think he will find the net for us at world cup or have some assists.. he does tend to choke, so I hope we don’t use him on some of the final games( hoping we make finals).. I think if dybala keeps showing brilliance at club level and partnership with big, then it should be clear cut he should go.. there is no point in having so many dm, hoping sampi sees this

  9. “Messi is the best of all and is in a stage of maturity that can he can carry the team on his shoulders. It is more his team than mine.” -Sampaoli

    Congratulation for bring back onceArgentina again the same old logic. No, Messi will not carry by himself Argentina to WC title. Football is more team game than ever before now.

    The longer Sampaoli is a coach the more similar he seems to be to former losers.

    • I agree with you brother
      it sounds that there is a black magic that affects everyone who trains Messi and the Argentine national team
      Each coach says the same talk
      When do they realize that the time of a one footballer can win trophies has ended in the world of football

      • Messi’s hypnotizing power. Not only all old and new players talks only about how much they desire to play with him and give him the ball but now even our coach wants just give him… the team. That’s good for Ecuador but will fall short in final stages.

        • I agree with you… but also look at stats when messi plays vs when he doesnt. He got us there, so I can see why sampi would say that… without messi, we would not be going to wc..although, I really don’t agree with icardi and dybala, that’s not cool

        • I do agree that the coach should never admit the team is of one player.. kills the Argentine rep and shows weakness in the coach.. might have misspoke on my last post

  10. the people who still deny “the club of friends” are in my opinion foolish.
    I’m disappointed in Sampaoli because he let himself become a puppet.
    If we lose no tears will be shed because once again we put selfishness before the greater good.
    If we lose there is no one to blame but ourselves.
    I just hope that Argentina with all the Trojan horses in our teams somehow still manages to win the World cup.
    As far as the projected team against Italy goes is not that bad and almost looks like the team I would choose.
    I don’t like any of the goalkeeper but would choose Caballero from these.
    In defense I would change Fazio with Pezzella.
    in midfield i would choose Ascacibar or Le Celso instead of Biglia.
    ——————–Paredes——-Ascacibar/Le Celso—————-
    And as Left and right midfielder I would choose

    Ascacibar and Lamela and not on the radar for Sampaoli upt to now but I think would excel in Sampaoli’s team.
    bustos, tagliafico, lamela, ascacibar, lanzini would cover the lack of running for Messi and Paredes because those guys give their all and we need to get more athletic and faster with and without the ball.

    • pezella acacibar lo celso will not be selected for sure.dybala also has very little chance.lamela is a big doubt also.i think bustos will be sub at best because of his inexperience.i would still believe masche is better cdm than biglia and he should start with paredes.banega is absolutely a necessity in middle as we dont have a creative player.if messi and aguero comes with 100% without getting fatigue then still we have a chance .there is a talk regarding higuain and aguero both starting,that would be inviting trouble then we necessarily play with 7 players with defensive work with aguero higuain and messi will walk around doing nothing

      • Agree, i also prefer Masche, he has the strongest spirit to fight for argentina and he always gives his best for argentina.

        No biglia please.

    • Indeed the “club of friends is a reality”. It is going to be a worst kept secret in this world cup. I doubt fans may boo at Higuain, Di Maria, Aguero and Biglia when they get/ loose the ball.

    • ——————–Paredes——-Ascacibar/Le Celso—————-
      And as Left and right midfielder I would choose

      With this midfield you can win a WC maximum in FIFA or PES 18 easy mode. These guys couldnt win anything in their whole career. Sorry but this is playstation again.

      • No I wouldn’t because I don’t play Fifa or Pes, not on easy mode or any mode would I win.
        They are young (20 -26) 2 way players who defend and help in attack, are also athletic.Zanetti never won anything and there were rumors he was “bad luck” in 2006 and that’s why he wasn’t selected, he won later on everything.
        They are team players, role players, but we want Messi to walk on the pitch, Aguero walk on the pitch, Di maria walk on the pitch, higuain walk on the pitch, all thinking the team needs to play for them and defend with just only 6 players.
        There is something called shape! You don’t need 3 hands, or feet, or 2 heads. you need 2 hands, 2 feet and 1 head.
        We were so successful with the players that have won titles in their club our cabinet has 0 trophies since 1993.
        We have a young players phobia.
        What would you play?
        What have your players won?
        Enlighten me!

  11. I doubt about icardi please but Dybala must be selected in World Cup squad because if sampoli don’t picking Dybala then whole world thing it was Messi’s crime in that reason Dybala selected..Messi must be stay claim..

      • True. Why not use Dybala instead of using tried and failed formula of making Hugain leading the line. Hugain was sold from RM because he could not perform, same goes for Juventus, he do not perform. I hate to see Hugain lead our line.

  12. sampaoli is a puppet.he only include those who are liked by messi.according to him messi is already he is fatigued and surely he will be 40% come worldcup.for messi its always the problem that he gives his all for national team and in world cup always come fatigued and cant play so no wonder he has 0 goals in knockouts.he is no maradona he wants to win champions league more than the world cup or mayb already accepted that he cant win the wc.our defence is not as strong as 2014.our midfield is not that great in comparison with spain,germany,brazil,france or even croatia has a better dybala and icardi out.aguero is injury prone and he also can be fatigued come wc higuain perennial choker and dimaria very talented but less of a brain.lautoro martinez is too young and most probably will not start.i had immense trust for sampaoli and hoped messi atlast will manage to win this wc but now im so dissapointed.and every blame should be given to messi if arg cant win.he always prefer his friends over the actual good players he pushed player like higuain dimaria aguero(though he is only world class striker we have but injuryprone) and biglia to name a few.messi always plays fr barca even in meaningless games and gets if he dont rest for barca against small teams in laliga he will be always remembered as a greatest club player ever produced but with 0 international trophies its time he has to decide what is more important to him winning the treble for barca which he already achieved twice or give all to his nationl team for winning the cup and that would create his legacy.

    • Too much rant man. Yes i would take Dybala but Icardi is no for me as well. I was watching inter game, he literally did nothing the whole game vs Juventus. However i am very worried about Hugain as he always seem to not perform under pressure like in all important games. Also i do not trust Augero and Di maria as they seem to get injured during the crucial times. Lets hope Argentina use more local and hardworking players who play for the team. Like Levazzi in last world cup.

  13. I would take Dybala instead of Hugain. Totally clueless performer and always choke. Even in Juventus vs Spurs, he was choker. Also Di Maria should be played in midfield not on attach as he shoot from impossible angle. Icardi should be played instead of Zero hugain. Let him stay home and eat pizza.

    • I dont like Higuain but Dybala and Icardi were ghost with us (zero goals), and ofc Higuain beat Spurs single-handedly, that overrated clown Kane was the choker. (tipic english garbage)

  14. So one thing is sure that higuain and aguero will be there in final 23 with messi n dimaria..only hope for icardi n dybala is the spot of martinez.if he performs well n score a goal in these friendlies then its all over…
    Hope it will become a good decision rather than a catastrophic one in post world cup analysis…
    And one more thing is that there will be 4 or 5 local players in final squad.then bustos,meza,pavon,Pablo, enzo,gago n martinez all have the higher percentage of chances than lanzini lo celso paredes salvio correa perrotti etc.if back 4 formation is going to be used salvio and acuna will not be used as full backs for sure.
    Gk:romero guzman cabellero
    Def: mercado otamendi fazio tagliafico rojo/funesmori bustos
    Destroyers:mache biglia
    CM:banega paredes enzo/gago/pablo lanzini/lo celso/meza
    Right wing:pavon salvio/correa
    Left wing: dimaria acuna
    Strikers:higuain aguero martinez/icardi/dybala

  15. The problem is this!!!! In sampaolii’s system the fullbacks and lateral wingers are of the most importance. These are positions we are thin at hence we need to bring more than needed to find the right ones! Forward is a position we have too much talent and realistically there are not enough minutes for them to play and being a forward is about confidence and timing of your shot (which requires playing time)
    So we can take 1/3 between icardi, dybala and Martinez or 2/3 and Drop a lateral winger (Correa, salvio, Lanzini, acuna) or a fullback (Tagliafico or Bustos )
    These two friendlies are vital to the picking process

  16. Icardi is out and dybala is likely to be out also.
    But thanks baldie for atleast confirming that the players are running the show & you are just a puppet.

  17. dybala wont make first 11 but he is best replacement of messi… to keep messi fresh untill the last… but icardi… i can see him starter against iceland crotia… who defend deep… icardi can help with his aerial ability… other match i would go with sergio.. team like spain germany…. but i hope lautaro martinez better than icardi… but i would still take him over higuain/(big time choker he will show against real madrid… then sampolli will change his mind…

    but both players deserved to be in the 23… i hope they will perform well with their club…

  18. Slight dig at Augero by Sampoali but truth. If you watch MC, Augero is there to finish tapins but for Argentina we do not create chances like MC, hence we need player to can influence the play not just the tapins like Suraez who involve in play or fight.

  19. Dammit. Love Higuain but I have doubts in crucial moments, Aguero highly likely he’ll get injured, Martinez doesn’t have experience in the biggest stage, it would be absolutely foolish to leave Icardi at home

      • “Martinez doesn’t have experience in the biggest stage”

        Let me take you back 20 years and remind you of Micheal Owen when he scored against Argentina at the 1998 WC, was he an experienced player? I think at the time he was younger than Martinez is now.

        The team really needs young players like Martinez, Dybala, and Icardi. If it’s impossible to have all three I would like to see at least two of them at the WC.

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