Jorge Sampaoli says Messi is not in control of Argentina

Fourth Official Norbert Hauata speaks with Jorge Sampaoli, Head coach of of Argentina during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Argentina and Croatia at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on June 21, 2018 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.
Gabriel Rossi/Getty Images Europe
Speaking ahead of their second round match against France at Russia 2018 World Cup, Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli says he is still in charge of the team selection and tactics.

Footage from Argentina 2-1 victory over Nigeria shows the former Sevilla manager asking Argentina captain Lionel Messi if he should bring on Kun Aguero.

However, Sampaoli claimed that the footage has been taken out of context.

“I remember that conversation with Leo very well, but everything I mention to my players is personal and I won’t make it public,” he explained,

“It was a simple exchange. It wasn’t how it’s been characterized.

“I was saying to him we would be using some of the strategies we had spoken about to have more attacking players on the pitch. That is all.

The former Chile boss also addressed the rumours of players trying to get him sacked.

“Will I continue as the coach? Well I have a contract and I am quite happy to be here,” he continued.

“As long as I can fight to be here, I will fight every day.

“Tomorrow you will see a very competitive Argentine team that will not accept defeat.

“But you can’t win a tournament by just playing from the heart.

“When I think of football I believe that we must control the game. That means imposing our style of play on them.

“Tomorrow I dream of an Argentina that plays with a lot of passion but also with a lot of football.”

Argentina play France tomorrow at the Kazan Stadium by 3pm in the World Cup round of 16, a match that have the potential of being another Russia 2018 classic.

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