Marcos Rojo talks about Nigeria goal, 2018 World Cup, Lionel Messi, much more


Marcos Rojo was a hero at the 2018 World Cup for Argentina as he scored the goal which secured qualification to the Round of 16 and he spoke about it all.

From the goal vs. Nigeria, to the relationship with Jorge Sampaoli and his off the pitch friendship with Lionel Messi, Rojo spoke about it all. Speaking in an interview with TyC Sports, here’s what he had to say regarding the match against Nigeria:

“The first half we played incredible. But when they drew level with us, we fell apart. We didn’t have a plan. We just tried to score a goal before the end of the match. And it was luck… Imagine that I almost caused a penalty. They put in a cross, it was going for the number 9, I tried to close it down, it rebounded, went passed and it hit me on the hand…

“At times, the hero could have been the villain of the match. The goal was incredible. The next day, I couldn’t even talk. If you see the play, you’d say “What is Rojo doing there?” We went for a back line of 3, Gaby Mercado sends in the cross and I got to it on the other side. They put me in that place to score the goal.”

Rojo also spoke about the relationship with Jorge Sampaoli during that World Cup:

“From the start, things didn’t work out. After that, there were a lot of changes against Croatia. Me, Di Maria and Biglia were out. When you play your hand like that, it’s messed up. If it doesn’t work out, you lose the credibility of the squad. I felt that Jorge had lost a bit of it and didn’t know how to continue. It showed. The player perceives it.”

Regarding a talk the team had with Sampaoli:

“That was the talk. To tell him that we weren’t understanding him, that he was lost, that we saw the relationship with Beccacece wasn’t the best and that it had influenced the group a lot. After the match against Croatia, we all watched Iceland and Nigeria and thank God we were left with one more chance.

“At that time, the idea was to talk, to understand that we were in a difficult spot and that if we didn’t do it together, we weren’t going to move forward. He could make the decisions that he thinks are good but the correct one was this: That the greats show their face. More than just Pavon who played well when he did, Meza too…

“It’s not easy to play a World Cup and even less so one like this. If you don’t win, you go home with a knife in you that you could never take out. This wasn’t the time to gamble or try something strange. He accepted it in the best way, he knew we were right. If not, today, we wouldn’t be talking about how we made it to the next round.”

Marcos Rojo and Lionel Messi celebrating Argentina’s goal vs. Nigeria at the 2018 World Cup.

About his goal and iconic photo with Lionel Messi on his back:

“When my grandkids talk about Messi, I’ll be able to say “look at this picture I have: The grandfather carrying him, ha! That moment (his goal vs. Nigeria) was incredible. It was the goal I screamed the most in my life.

“Putting aside how great he is, we have a good relationship off the pitch. We lived beautiful moments.”


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  3. What a goal and what a commentary, look up the video titled ” Argentina comentator reaction after Marcos rojo’s goal vs nigeria” on you tube…that was the best one.
    Those weren’t fake tears

  4. The “4–3—2—1” Christmas Tree plan gives many players in the middle of the field, helping to establish a high-pressure style in the middle.
    This plan lacks width but the movement and rotation of the full backs up and down going high with attacking midfielder coming inside will disrupt the opponent defense
    This formation is a defensive tactic, as a structure the emphasis is on solidity and rigidity, the full backs should give width in the defensive and midfield third
    The N/T needs to try this plan instead of the 4–4—2
    It is suitable to cover up lazy Paredes because it is witnessing 5 players in the middle
    Messi will play a free role as Kaka was with Milan 2007 and beside him Ocampos (Seedorf), where he will play an important tactical role here physically strong , good with feet , presses well and a strong defensive contributor with Lautaro or icardi in the forward and support from Montiel, Tagliafico or Acuna would be great
    And the advantage of this formation is flexible and dynamic, it can be transformed according to the circumstances of the match to 4-3-3 by Ocampos, messi push out wide
    Or to 3—4—2—1 or 4—4—2 diamond or even flat

  5. To be fair, One of my all time favorite moments while watching Argentina. This Rojo goal was something special for me. Even though the 2018 WC was a disaster for us I still crave this moment. “A cross from somebodyyyy” that commentary makes the goal even more worthy.

    • Rojos goal was way more emotional as it was in the dying 86th minute!! Still makes me smile.

      My favorite though was Banega amazing cross to Messi. The slow motion video shows how alien and how impressive Messi’s control is. At that speed, every touch was flawless. I thought it was the best technical goal of the WC. Only few people on earth could have done that.

      This isn’t the original slow mo video…

      • Yupp ofcourse that goal by Messi was something like God’s answer for all the prayers, like u said the best technical goal of 2018 (what a first touch it was, pure skill)

        I even have that goal by Messi saved in my mobile.Along with Messi’s goal against Bosnia in 2014 WC(which was his first goal in the WC after 8 years) and ofcourse the Goal vs Iran where he beat the entire opposition 11 players with 1 shoat. These 2 videos too i have in my mobile. 2014 was a great WC for us. Personally that was the first time i was seeing Argentina in a WC finals. We will win it for sure one day.

        It’s just a human thing to rewind back the great memories.

  6. That Rojo goal was a priceless one and I can see it before my eyes right now. We beat Nigeria at Brazil and Russia WCs, but the amazing thing is that Messi and Rojo gave us the win in both occasions.

  7. It’s surprising that diego simeone has never relied on Argentine talents in his tenure as a atletico manager. This week they had showed interests on zaracho, Martinez quarta, but hadn’t even taken a compelling step to turn the rumors into reality.
    If you see the fullbacks in atletico Madrid, either they are French or mostly Brazilians except Spanish. They even went to capture Lodi, but never looked on montiel, Medina or even tagliafico, none of them. It saddens a bit, because being an Argentine fan, I sometimes feel that we underestimate our talents a lot. I ain’t whinning that they should be spotlighted by the bigger clubs, which irresistibly happens with yellow dicks, but more importantly pointing that, even our managers outlook them.
    Although it doesn’t apply for all the Argentine managers but most of them. Only pochettino shows some real interests on Argentines except bielsa. Now here’s the deal, look at bielsa, he’s know for his style which mechanically takes out the shit from players during his intense training session, but he still manages to, at least some extracts of potential fro the ordinary players. And that is where he is cheered. But if you look on the other Argentine managers, it’s only pochettino who has been able to do it and none other.
    My point is that, if not the media, at least Argentine managers should take a bit of pride and courage in bringing home grown talents. Something which, bielsa is doing now, he is targeting at least 5-6 talents that have been criminally overlooked by many teams. Whether it happens or not depends on decisions from both sides, but at least if they are given the tag of rumors then other teams will take notice soon. As a result, they will jump their gun too.
    If you look at the likes of almada, quarta, zaracho who were shortlisted by bielsa, this exact players are actually being targeted by other clubs too. Clubs who weren’t familiar with their talents. This is what I was talking about.

    • I wouldn’t say that, Simeone has signed Kranevitter, Vietto, Gaitan, Ansaldi, Augusto and Correa. That is 6 in total, which isn’t a small number, unfortunately only Augusto and Correa were a success for some reason or another. Kranevitter turned out to be all hype sadly, Vietto was a one season wonder and Gaitan simply didn’t fit into Simeone’s system. The saddest case was Ansaldi, who was doing very well but then had that altercation with the police and Simeone decided that he didn’t need or want that kind of indiscipline.
      Right now Zaracho is legitimately on Atletico’s radar, infact according to Zaracho’s agent Atletico have already made an offer for him so we’ll see how it goes but Zaracho would have ALOT of competition in Atletico’s midfield.
      Pochettino brought out the best in Lamela after he was languishing on the bench with the previous manager, then he bought Foyth and was giving him valuable minutes, then he bought Celso.
      Lautaro was brought into Inter largely because of Zanetti’s recommendation and Inter’s interest in Quarta has also been largely thanks to Zanetti.
      Even Santi Solari with his limited time managing Real came *this close* to buying Palacios if it weren’t for the kid’s untimely injury.
      All in all I think it’s harsh to say that Argentine managers don’t have pride and courage with Argentine players and I don’t think Bielsa should be praised for his mere interest in Argentine players because in practice the only Argentine he ever got was Ocampos and just because he is genuinely interested in Zaracho, Buendia and J.Silva doesn’t mean we’re gonna see any of them at Leeds next year.

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