Andres D’Alessandro on Lionel Messi, Argentina national team, Lionel Scaloni

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Andres D’Alessandro spoke in an interview about Lionel Messi, the Argentina national team and Lionel Scaloni.

D’Alessandro played several matches with the Argentina national team. At youth level, he won the U20 World Cup and in 2004 won a gold medal with the Argentina team at the Olympics. With the Argentina national team, he took part in a Copa America and played for Argentina alongside Lionel Messi back in 2010, after the World Cup.

Already 40 years old, D’Alessandro is still playing football with Nacional in Uruguay. While his national team days are behind him, the talented number 10 spoke about another number 10, Lionel Messi. Speaking in an interview with TyC Sports, here is what he had to say:

“His level is not normal of that a football player. The level he is at, the level he plays at. He shows his humility every day, when we see him on television. In recent times I haven’t shared anything with him but when they trained at the Beira-Rio, I went to see him. He went up to the stalls to greet me and my kids.

“Him and Kun (Sergio Aguero). He didn’t wait for me to come down. They are details that, out there, for people, they are minimal. My kids didn’t sleep all night, he. The idea was for us to go down to the pitch and Leo went up and stayed talking with us for a while.”

In addition to playing alongside Messi with Argentina, he also played against him when Messi was with FC Barcelona and D’Alessandro with Real Zaragoza:

“My kids asked me if I played with Messi. I told them yes, obviously.”

Regarding coach Lionel Scaloni:

“Having played, knowing the dressing room, the stadiums… That gives you an advantage. Knowing how they are managed, knowing the people that work at the stadium. It was growing, little by little.

“When you have a group with a clear message, with leaders that move forward, it gives you the opening to do more things. Having won the Copa America gives you the peace of mind of enjoying the World Cup qualifiers and getting to the World Cup in a different way.

“The most important thing is getting to the World Cup in the best way possible. The collective and individual performance is very high.

In Europe, there are economic powers but Argentina can reach that level. With serious work, as it has been. If we get to the World Cup at an important moment, they can take on anyone.”

35 Comments

  1. This is good discussion about plan B. My thoughts are a little different. I am not sure what each of you think as Plan B? An alternate team as plan B? An alternate system as Plan B?

    This is how I think

    System wise
    1. Have a clear idea of the system(s). This is Plan A. Let’s say we play 4-3-3 by default. Everyone understands there role.
    2. Sometimes we shift to 3-5-2, 4-5-1 or 3-4-3. Not 10 other formations, but few more, depending on the situation. Again everyone understands their role.

    Team wise
    1. Have a clear idea of first 11.
    2. Have a roster of 18 players as core. 11 starters and 7 subs. Clear idea of each one’s role. Who they are back filling in what system.
    3. Other 5 players can be fluid, till the last day to accommodate last minute surprises.

    Tactically speaking
    1. Have a clear idea of how we want to dominate (dominate does not mean attack) the game/tactics. Basically the game(s) should unfold the way you want to.
    2. Have a clear idea what to do if we are ahead or down, or want to close out a game
    3. Clear idea of what to do if we have to play with 10 men
    4. Have a clear idea of how to approach extra 30 mins, post 90.
    5. Solid practice of tie-breakers. Make it a strength. We have the GK to make it a strength.

    A quick brain dump. This will make me feel we are prepared. Rest is luck. Vamos!!

    • “2. Have a clear idea what to do if we are ahead or down, or want to close out a game”

      After you said this, I started thinking about times we’ve been down in a match. Coincidentally, I realized that today (November 12) marks a whole year since Argentina has ever gone behind in a football match. We have not been behind in a single moment of any game for a year and have played many, which is great. We also have had a healthy amount of clean sheets and have not conceded more than two (and that was just once).

      • Wow that is some stat :), that’s commendable indeed. Scaloni and company have done a good job. Defense wins tournaments. Build a fort.

        Another factors is we have scoring early goals. Copa specifically.

  2. Brazil qualified. I think like 2018, they will crash out of WC because they always peak early. I hope we struggle little that way it keep our players and coaches on toe.

    • They always qualified early and oddly enough the last time they won the WC , they struggled to qualify.

      Remember Germany won all games in 2018 qualifier, not even a single draw, yet they’re beaten by S Korea and Mexico lol

      Dont forget we came into Copa America after 2 draws in qualifier followed by a draw in opening Copa game, but we gradually improved during the tournament and I think that’s how you win tournament.

    • this new brazil has no star with a neymar regressed who has no more pace but overall they play well collectively, unlike the previous brazil teams, this one play more physical with most players from Ligue 1 and premier league.they play fast and efficient, no more samba bullshit. I see them as dangerous as Germany for the next wc, different style but dangerous

      • They always played with pace since late 90s. The 2000s era, they often beat Argentina using strength and pace, not samba style.

        Also, the only formidable team that Brazil had face since WC 2018 is only Argentina and they’ve lost twice , winning just once with homecooked refereeing.

        • i meant before they got some players like Marcelo, Coutinho, Robinho, Kaka, Ronaldinho, Dani Alves and Neymar prime who know how to make difference with the ball, now they don’t have that kind of players anymore and can rely on pressing and fast transition, that doesn’t make them weaker, it’s just different. They are less individualist, even Neymar helped to defend, that’s why I think they are dangerous.

  3. with d’alessandro-saviola-maxi Rodriguez in attack and colloccini in defense that u20 dominated the competition in 2001. This team is still my favorite u20 team, more than 2005 messi’s team and 2007 kun’s team. I remember in 2001, they humiliated france with cisse and mexes, total domination with that 1 touch fast passing Argentina football. Pekerman was really the boss.

  4. Casemiro is suspended for Argentina match due to yellow card accumulation.

    Our team has been very good at avoiding yellow in last few matches. We have to do it again vs Uruguay. Uruguay is without Cavani and Darwin in attack, so if our defense and midfield is careful, it won’t be difficult to avoid yellow.

    Without Casemiro, Brazil will find it more difficult to maintain balance. I don’t think Tite will have the courage to implement his team’s full attacking potential without Casemiro’s protection.

  5. Great player back in his prime. He should be included in the squad back in 2010 when he led Internacional to win Libertadores. Although I always remember his sent off after Messi dived from his soft headbutt (Barca vs Zaragoza) 😀

    • in 2010, another number 10 Lucho Gonzalez played at his prime time but not chosen. The best central midfielder cambiasso selected neither and Gago was injured, what a waste.

  6. I’ve always been one of the, if not THE most critical person at mundo when it comes to Scaloni, infact I thought he was just another clueless Maradona/Batista/Bauza/Sampaoli type manager but he (luckily) proved me wrong.
    Scaloni is doing exactly what he should be doing, namely establishing (in concrete) a well defined core instead of what he did during his first year/11 games in charge where he went crazy with squad selections and formations, to the point where the squad was completely ill-prepared and disjointed during the first 2 games of copa 19. Honestly it was almost by pure chance that he included Lautaro and De Paul and suddenly the team took shape.
    As for plan B, well there is one, it involves Pezzella, Montiel and Tagalifico at the back; Guido and Palacios in the middle and Nico G / J.Correa up front.
    That doesn’t mean ofcourse that plan B is perfect because it isn’t, while Montiel, Tagliafico, Guido and Nico Gonzalez have proven to be very apt subs, Pezzella on the other hand IMO has sadly lost his edge and shouldn’t be even in the squad while Licha should clearly be the first backup CB.
    In the mid-field Nico Dominguez (closest player to either Celso or De Paul in terms of style) and Papu (proved very capable at LCM with Sevilla) need to be given ALOT more playing time because I think they can be good subs for Celso and De Paul.
    Up top there is still a question over who’s gonna be the backup 9, J.Alvarez, J.Correa, Dybala or maybe even Gio Simeone? And ofcourse the biggest question is: Can Argnetina manage without Lio Messi because the team is yet to play a single competitive game without their eternal captain.

    I would like Messi to take a break against Uruguay and save some energy for Brazil because thanks to all the beating he got at copa, he’s still carrying some niggling injuries and at 34yrs, those niggling injuries become REAL injuries if a player doesn’t look after himself. Apart from that I want the team to be pretty much the same and take the 2 coming games very seriously because Argentina still haven’t qualified yet and nothing can be taken for granted at the CONMEBOL qualifiers.

    • yeah I agree with you, the new generation of coaches are now very good, most of them try to play good quality of football and like to take risk instead of parking bus. The tactics and organization much more important than formation.

      About messi, hard to tell, I know that players at his age need to play more in order to find back their level after injuries. His knee injury is unknown to the public. it doesn’t seem serious but I am skeptical like you. his only good game so far with psg was the 2nd half vs man city. it’s really not normal.

  7. I don’t know about that but some of the greatest teams that have won the World Cup use pretty much the same squad in each and every game. Think about Ronaldo’s Brazil with their fantastic four or Zidane’s France or Mbappe’s France. They all used same players pretty much in every game. If there were changes, only 1-3 changes.

    I can’t think of any great teams that won any major competition that always rotated players. Barca famous tiki taka, CR 7 Real Madrid team also used pretty much the same teams.

    I think Scaloni knows what he is doing. He is improving the team chemistry. He knows his key players and his bench players get stronger and stronger. On the top of that, the team atmosphere is perfect. They are like a family.

    I know if you are fans, it is “boring” seeing the same teams over and over again. But Sampaoli was exactly criticized for that: never used the same teams.

    Plus I won’t say Scaloni never rotate. He often gave chance to the likes of Nico Gonzales, Montiel, Tagliafico, Guido, or Papu/J Correa to start.

    • I agree with your points as well, but I will say that in my opinion you don’t *have* to play your plan B. Ideally, you only have to use your plan A. A plan B just has to be in place in case something unexpected happens, but our plan A is our Plan A for a reason. Forcing the idea of a plan “b” on the team excessively is not good, if your plan a is able to impose itself on the opposition you don’t need much of a plan b. I just hope that when we are qualified some players are tried to more clearly identify and prepare back ups in case of injuries

  8. @Gonzalo has made a valid point about Argentina’s plan B and how France has shuffled their squad many times (they also did this prior to World Cup 2018). Although they won the WC, they still shuffle the squad, constantly bringing in new or in-form players to the fold. We cannot expect the style that won Copa to win us the WC. Sabella’s team had the fantastic 4 playing counter-attack throughout qualifying. However, during WC2014: Bosnia, Iran, and Nigeria parked the bus and forced us to play possession-style football but we did not have a creative midfield (Pastore, Banega) as they were not tried throughout qualifying. Additionally, we brought injured players (Gago, Aguero, Ricky Alvarez, etc).

    Scaloni seems to prove his doubters wrong. However, all it takes is a disappointing WC exit due to the contagious and typical history of Argentina manager’s stubbornness, “over tactical mistake” or the typical “sticking to what has worked in the past at all cost” (Bielsa, Peckerman, Maradona, Sabella, Bauza, Sampaoli) and the criticism is again warranted.

    The only managers I can remember who have called up all the right players and lost without excuses were Alfio Basile (2007 Copa), Batista (2011 Copa ), & Tata (2015 & 2016 Copas). Nothing you can say about player selection, style of play, etc. We just lost.

    I believe we now have the talent to make A Teams & B Teams and give Messi and some players needed rest as there may be a talent(s)/hidden gem(s) we don’t yet know about.
    I mean heck, how is Dybala still our 27-YEAR-OLD “wonderkid”. This is sad! 30 caps/2 goals and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play a full 90 minutes for the NT.

    No top 20 national team does this guys. This is truly unacceptable. Especially, when we have basically already qualified for the World Cup.

    • You make some really good points about having a plan b. I am not on board with an over the top sampaoli insanity style experimentation, but having a plan b to take care of different scenarios when things don’t go our way is important. A plan b can be anything from different tactics to different players getting tried.

      From what I’ve noticed, it seems that over the past year Scaloni has mainly been working on getting a good core first and foremost, before experimentation. We didn’t have a great core before this. Players like De Paul, Romero, Lautaro, Martinez, Lo Celso are key in what he’s been building. Now our core is great and more than functioning, but my question to everyone is why are we worried about working on a plan B before Uruguay away and Brazil at home? If anything, these are two games where we need nothing more and nothing less than our strongest core and to impose our plan A on them as much as possible. Not the time to worry about Plan b’s, after these games sure, but now we need to make a statement and get the points.

      I can’t read Scaloni’s mind and I could be wrong, but if he is to start experimenting I think it would be either after both of these games if we get 6 points or when we are mathematically qualified. I don’t know if he will do this, but I hope when the time comes he will. It would be sensible to experiment with Lisandro, Palacios or Domínguez, Alvarez, Dybala, maybe even Foyth. But not now

    • From what I’ve seen during the past 2 years. Plan A is 442(with di maria and lo celso as playmakers on each side) and Plan B is 433(De Paul covering Messi on the right like Rakitic did in the past at Barca, a winger on the left). Both is following the same idea: aggressive pressing which allows Messi to stay in the last 30m. It’s more on the players that need some work, so far there are 7 players untouchable in the 11 except injuries(Emi, Otamendi, Romero, De Paul, Paredes, Messi, Lautaro), the rest can be rotated. If the team plays in 433, I want to see Julian Alvarez as the left forward. This kid is fast with the ball, we need the pace.

    • D’allesandro would have been great with Banega and Pastore for 2014 instead of like Wisdom said those injured players like Gago, Aguero and for what reason Arg had the Ricky alvarez or Rodrigo Palacio, LOL ! Just hope Arg will learn from theese misstakes from before that might have cost us at least for sure 1 WC as in my oppinnion even 2 as i’m reffering to 2018 too ! Where certain players should have been dropped or they should have retired by themselfs as Zapaleta did in great honor for his country !

  9. We can take on anyone.. well said.. 1 problem though… we only have a plan A.. we use same players over and over and not giving enough chance to other players.. that’s when plan b kicks in.. but right now we are stuck in plan A.. don’t wait for plan A to fail…

    • I think the plan B is all 5 of our subs…. With the J.Correa, Dybala, Nico Gonzalez, Papu Gomez, A.Correa and Alvarez offensively and montiel, tagliafico and Guido defensively … available to come into a game from minutes 60 to 90 to 120 if needed! Argentina’s plan B “is keep the pressure on!”

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