Reports: Messi badly influenced Sampaoli’s decisions in the Argentina Camp
Argentine daily newspaper Clarin has reported two incidents in which Captain Leo Messi influenced decisions inside the Albiceleste camp – one prior to friendly match against Spain in March and another during Russia World Cup.
As claimed by the paper, the first event happened while Argentina were preparing in Manchester before their friendly matches against Italy and France. During one of the training sessions, Assistant coach Sebastian Beccacece spoke to the Barcelona star to rectify some issues, and while doing that touched the player on the shoulder. Messi became furious, more with the gesture than at the coach’s suggestions, and demanded to Sampaoli that similar things should never be repeated.
Clarin describes another incident that displays Messi’s authority over the team selection. According to their report, Messi influenced Sampaoli not to pick Roma defender Federico Fazio and PSG midfielder Giovani Lo Celso, figuring out potential drawbacks in the way they play. Later, at the World Cup, Fazio played only in the second half of Round of 16 defeat against France, while Lo Celso was not fortunate enough to feature for the Albiceleste at all.
Although the Argentine daily did not indicate the exact reason why Messi disliked Fazio, it offered a hypothesis behind his anger against Lo Celso. It claimed the Argentine captain felt embarrassed after losing a game against the PSG youngster during a training session. However, sources close to the player have rejected any such event took place.
Lionel Messi, who is set to lead Barcelona after Iniesta’s departure, has experienced a very cold relationship with the Argentine Press all through his career. The player has often been vilified by the local media for his failure to replicate club form in the national side. Previously in 2016, Messi, regarded by many as the greatest footballer of all time, lead entire Argentina squad in a press conference to announce their decision to boycott media after reports alleged that Ezequiel Lavezzi had smoked Marijuana during the team’s training. At that event, he claimed the team tolerated a lot of accusations and big lack of respect and the false news exceeded everything.