Argentina coach Lionel SCALONI on Lionel MESSI, the future and more


Interim Argentina coach Lionel SCALONI spoke in length about Lionel MESSI, the future of the Argentina National Team and much more.

In an interview with Infobae, the former Argentina international went in depth discussing the future and what the kids mean to the National Team. However, he also commented on Lionel MESSI as well as Walter SAMUEL possibly joining the coaching staff. Here’s what he had to say:
Lionel SCALONI on his conversation with Lionel MESSI:

“I spoke with him and from that conversation he has not been called-up for the two (upcoming friendly) matches. We didn’t talk about the future, we all know what he represents to us and we will see what happens. I have a really good relationship with him and we were very clear: He would not be in this call-up, we will see for the future but everything ended well.”

Lionel SCALONI on calling up Franco VAZQUEZ:

“Like everyone knows, I took over as coach just a few days ago and we were in the middle of the U20 tournament in Valencia. Once we got here, we started putting together the list and last week we decided that Franco would be called-up. We sent out the papers to FIFA to authorize it (since VAZQUEZ has played for Italy); we are optimistic that they will give us the okay and that Franco would be able to play with the Argentina National Team. But there are things that don’t depend on us.”

On Walter SAMUEL possibly being included in the Argentina coaching staff:

“It’s a possibility that we are looking at. Still no decision has been taken. It’s obvious that we know each other, he’s a friend, but there’s nothing completely decided.”

On Sergio ROMERO:

“He’s in the list and we are looking at the possibility of him playing this weekend or at the least be available for Manchester United. We still have a week to be able to call-up another goalkeeper if he doesn’t recover. We are in contact with him, he is training but the idea is that if he’s not well, we will call-up another goalkeeper.”

What it means to coach the Argentina National Team:

“It’s a challenge, a big illusion and in these six or what ever matches we get, we will try to bring in the most number of players possible for the next coach to be able to decide and say if these matches really served for something, beyond the results. It’s a moment for these kids to be able to put on the shirt.”

On certain players:

“No player opted out or said that they did not want to come with the Argentina National Team. Everything that was decided was for the best of the National Team and to be able to bring something for the future. We know that we have to call people up for these matches. I spoke with many of the players, not all of them and they were available. We know that we need these players because we believe that we have an enormous potential. Most of them are in good form and it’s the time to call them up, looking past their ages because these kids are young.”

On future call-ups:

“It’s obvious that there are still players that I’d like to see and we have up until this week to call up more. We are convinced of what we have to prove. It’s obvious that the result counts because Argentina has to win but it’s the time for these kids to put on the shirt and convince that they can play with the National Team. We are trying to instill the idea that those who put the shirt on for the first time, don’t take it off.”

Why he decided to stay with the team after Jorge SAMPAOLI’s exit:

“I had already taken the decision to continue with the AFA and if it wasn’t possible, I would have had no problem parting ways. The possibility to continue here arose and I know the AFA and I’m here. They offered me to stay with the U20 team and after that the senior team and I am very grateful to the president because he was the person who called me to offer me this chance which I couldn’t say no to and I am happy.”

On continuing after these matches:

“I would have liked to have Pablo (AIMAR) here because we think the same way: For these six matches, we want to be able to bring in the most players possible. What will happen in the future, I don’t know. I’m here to give a hand, I’m here during an important time in Argentine football. After that, we will see what happens. I am only thinking in the National Team, in what is happening now.”

On the experience of the 2018 FIFA World Cup:

“I lived Russia like most or like all Argentine’s. A big dream to be able to get reach as far as we can and heart break for being eliminated, against the world champions. That also played a little against us because we finished second in the group and we were left with the most difficult road. It was a big experience for me as a coach but a big heart break for how it ended.”

On why he counts on young players:

“In football, you can win a match but if in the long run things aren’t done properly, it all falls apart. I think it’ll be a long road and surely it’s something which can be achieved. There’s potential, there are players in the U15, U17 levels… They are doing things well and why not think that in the future, Argentina can go back to being world champions. It’s what we want to transmit to these kids at the U20 level that at the next World Cup they will be 22 or 23 years old and that World Cup will be decided by that group age.”


  1. Let’s hope Messi plays the next Copa America and next Wold cup 2022 … what I generally feel is in 2022, Messi will still remain within top 5 best players of the world , if he takes care of his ageing body properly… he may not play as an out and out forward , but yes , definitely as a play maker .. i think , and most of us here will agree, that Tennis is far more physically challenging than football, and we can see guys like Federer, Nadal , nearing or above 35, are still on top… I am not bringing in Sachin Tendulkar’s example here, as suggested by some of my friend’s in this forum:)…Today , with so much scientific fitness training and nutrition, playing at your best level till 35 is not that difficult a problem , if you take adequate rest and preserve yourself… only problem for Messi is :- Football is a team sport , unlike Tennis, and one individual , how good he may be, cannot win a tournament on his own…so its all how Argentina shapes up as a team (include coaching staff as well) by 2022 will decide whether Messi can win the coveted world cup or not…

    • Both for Almendra and Balerdi ATM would be best if they stay and play for Boca. ATM ALmendra is bench player with chances to start soon. Balerdi position is not that good though may improve as Izquierdoz injured.

      Boca should keep them, play them 1-2 seasons more to raise price and get out of this stupid Real or Barcelona as much money as possible.

    • Yeah so he could go to a ‘big club’, get lost in the shuffle, lose confidence and become yet another ‘wasted oppertunity’…… thanks. Let the kid get some first team action in the primera and build his confidence and awareness before being thrown to the wolves.

    • Barcelona following Almendra and Balerdi and Real following Almendra – I hope both will stay as long as possible in Boca.

      Almendra will have minutes in this season and Balerdi may not go with senior team to USA becuase Schelotto needs someone instead of injured Izquierdoz.

  2. Copa America 2019 line up
    Rulli – RB Pazella Otamendi LB – Ascaliber/Batigala – Vasquez/parades Benega/Lo celso – messi – Dybala/Martinez Aguero/icardi

  3. “I think he is a great player, that over time, and if he continues with the evolution he has been showing, he will be a very important player in a big club in Europe and in the Argentine National Team”
    “I have always identified with this type of player. I really like the style of play he has. ”

    Mascherano about Ascacibar.

  4. Argentina had so many flaws expect in attacks. Despite Messi and Aguero not in the squad Argentina attack looks so dengoures but apart from attack rest looks very mediocre. Argentina need to rebuild every department to balance the squad then winning copa America will be cakewalk considering 2019 is the weakest edition of copa and messi still in prime. But winning 2022 will be difficult if Argentina can’t produce world class player in every department

  5. Well, AFA had told that Messi took break at least until December 2018. Scaloni is telling that he had only spoken about this two matches and not for the future. There is some disconnect between the two versions or somebody is telling lie or nobody is sure about Leo’s status with Argentina. Either ways this could be blessing in disguise . Messi’s absence would keep the old guards away from the NT for the time being and that might help to build a new young and competitive squad for the Copa.

    As far as Messi is concerned it is clear that his focus is currently on winning the UCL for Barca and most likely he will not be playing any friendly before the COPA starts. Further, if he is does not come back to play in the Copa then I think we had seen the last of him in Russia and we can bid goodbye to him along with all his “buddies”.

    Indeed a sad way to end an international career for such a great player.

      • And for your kind information Messi remains best Argentina player by a distance if not world best but in a worst case remain top5 best in the world

        • I am not debating whether Messi is best or not. But the reality on one hand is, if We have reached Russia becoz of messi, then on the other hand Over dependence on messi killed us big time. So it’s better to get out of his shadows and built a proper team. Because as much as you may crib in Qatar Messi will be 35.5 years and will be left only with 30% of his original capability comapred to today.

          And please don’t give Sachin Tendulkar’s Example as Cricket and football are two completely diff game altogether.

          • i don’t think messi down from 100% in 2020 to 30% in 2022 but one thing you must understand 30% messi is better than all Argentina individuals but we can’t rally messi in 2022 like in 2018 but messi will play in 2022, if klose gave 100% at at 36 in 214 then why not messi who will remain top 5 best player in the world in 2022 too

          • I was given Sachin example to messi before because Sachin was deserved to win world Cup more than India, similarly messi deserve to win world cup more than Argentina, God did justice with Cricket Goat and will do justice for the Football goat

          • You’re wrong… we never lost because of a dependence on messi, we lost because of a horrible defense and a lack of coherence on defensive pressing.. we scored 3 goals against the world champs and if we played better defensively we would have finished France and killed the game… you can’t blame Messi or a lack of cohesion with Messi and his teammate offensively for 5 goals in the last two games when we gave up 9 goals defensively

          • We did not lose because of messi dependence. we lost because of dogshit coaching and tactics. no defense and poor midfield. its up to the coach to integrate messi and players. its up to the coach to motive players and scream at them if they are standing there watching messi. insane that people keep focusing on messi as if hes the issue.

          • I don’t think we lost just because of Sampaoli. THere are also other reasons. THink about our team failing also under Martino and Bauza. Is this possible that we have 3 poor coachas in a row? Rhetoric quastion that should makes peoeple think the matter is more complicated and looking for one scapegoat is not good explanation.

          • Losing final in extra time or Penalty is called bad luck, France also lose euro final but they finally lift the world cup. Argentina losing 2014-2016 finals is nothing new as they lost in 1993-2007 before. But after 2016 Argentina played poor football reason bad performance in 2018 and core group lost their prime prerez,mache,biglia, higuain and Dimaria.

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