Sergio Batista: “I heard Messi and Riquelme didn’t get along”, held meeting


World Cup winner with Argentina in 1986 and coach of the Argentina team which won gold at the 2008 Summer Olympic games, Sergio Batista gave an interview where he spoke about the Olympics and the 1990 World Cup.

Sergio Batista coached Argentina to the team’s second Olympic gold medal in a row but revealed that he had a meeting with Lionel Messi and Juan Roman Riquelme prior to the tournament. Speaking in an interview with TNT Sports, here’s what the Olympic gold medalist had to say:

“I had heard the rumor that Messi and Riquelme didn’t get along. All three of us got together, we chatted and we had an excellent conversation. There, Roman was very important because little by little, he was getting closer to Lionel.

“I very much enjoyed the Olympic games and that group, they wanted to win the gold medal. Nothing else existed for them. I was surprised of the humility and the respect that they had with me.”

Regarding the 1990 World Cup, Batista mentioned that coach Carlos Bilardo held a meeting after the team’s opening loss vs. Cameroon:

“Carlos got us all together and blamed the loss on every world champion who remained from the 1986 World Cup. From there, Diego got really heated and said he wanted to go. With Oscar Ruggeri we were able to stop him and we spoke to Carlos who explained to us that he couldn’t put the responsibility (of the defeat) on the new guys.

“From those of us who played in 1986, most of us weren’t well for 1990 and the group probably wasn’t that strong too. There wasn’t that much togetherness between the young guys and the older players. Carlos (Bilardo’s) idea wasn’t fully captured and it was because of that we didn’t play well.”


  1. Its not just 2010. Bad selections has happened everytime. Its been a curse for Argentina NT

    1998 – Redondo & Cannigia ( crazy haircut rules !!!)
    2002 – not playing bati & crespo together ( bielsa’s rigidity ) . Rising Riquelme & Saviola ( then a Barca sensation ) were not selected
    2006 – Zanetti , Walter Samuels , Demichellis
    2014 – Caballero omission was not footballing decision. Banega
    2018 – Icardi , Alejandro Gomez , Garay

    Also it was not Maradona not selecting Riquelme. Riquelme announced his retirement & stated he cant work with Maradona. A case of bigger ego. In case of Zanetti he was already 36 & Maradona had reasons to believe he was past his prime. His strategy was to play 4CBs & Zanetti didnt fit in.

    • ” His strategy was to play 4CBs & Zanetti didnt fit in.” What an idiot strategy from a so called coach. This makes no sense.

      Batistuta and Crespo not playing together was not a mistake, 2 pure old school poacher never play together in modern football. Not now, not 20 years ago, and not even 40 years ago.

      • its a known fact that maradona strategy was naive on defense played 4CBs for that match . If u didnt know that – cant help it … he played otamendi as RB for that match.
        On bielsa – u shld go read what Bati himself said. He said it was only Bielsa who thought they couldnt play together. & it was a mistake. Its a coach’s job to having alternate plans & make the max out of your strengths. When we led the WC qualifiers comfortably – coach could have atleast tried such an strategy . Maybe try this in last 20mins when u goto get a goal somehow. Bati cld have been the supersub & Crespo shld have been the starter in 2002.
        Unlike 2010 when we entered WC shaky & finally reached quaterfinal , we were No 1 & strong favorites in 2002 & exited in 1st round due to Bielsa’s rigidity
        Th key point i am making is while evyone keeps bashing Maradona as a coach – the others post Bilardo ( except Sabella ) were ineffective or arrogant or wasteful.

    • Maradona was the one that started it by criticizing Roman’s game and only then did he respond by saying that he can’t play for him.

  2. Technically the players are excellent, it’s more on unity and the chemistry of the team that cost us a lot. Ego and feel that ‘i am’ should be erase.
    Sabella humble approach is much appreciated by the players and it is the key. Arg need this kind of atmosphere which players feel comfortable and get along with each other.

    Scaloni try to combine and blend the Sabella way with Peckerman style; it will bear a sweet juice

  3. What should have could have would have …….etc I would just say the following:

    Riquelme was an integral part of the 2010 WC team that should have been on the team but the war of words between him and Maradona did not do us any favors.

    Zanetti and Cambiasso were allegedly left off the team for Veron’s sake who didn’t get along with these two.

    The 2010 team was a monster that found its form when the WC started, even more so than the 2014……..difference was the COACHING GAP.
    Messi with his long hair was still practically a kid , Higuian wasn’t chubby and slow, Tevez, Di Maria and Kun were all flying around with what seemed like infinite energy.

    Missed opportunities are just that when you don’t capitalize on them and that is shameful and sad.

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