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SPORTS | 26-12-2022 22:13

Argentina confident coach Lionel Scaloni will stay with World Cup winners

"Lionel Scaloni is the coach of the Argentina national team and we are both men of our word," says AFA chief Claudio 'Chiqui' Tapia.

Argentina's football federation insisted Monday that coach Lionel Scaloni will remain with the World Cup winners.

"Scaloni is the coach of the Argentina national team. We are both men of our word, we said yes to each other. I have no doubt that he will continue," Argentine Football Federation (AFA) President Claudio 'Chiqui' Tapia said.

Scaloni, 44, has been in charge of the team since 2018, leading them to the Copa América in 2021 – Argentina's first international trophy since 1993.

He then guided Lionel Messi and the squad to a third World Cup with victory over France in the final in Qatar earlier this month.

However, when he was named coach in succession to Jorge Sampaoli after a last-16 exit at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, he was not a popular choice.

"Ninety-nine percent of people thought we were wrong or even crazy," said Tapia. "But this team brought happiness to the people with the titles they won." 

The head of the AFA, who has been in charge for six years, also highlighted the role of star player and captain Lionel Messi.

"We have the best player in the world who was mistreated" in Argentina by critics who slammed him for failing to reproduce his title-winning form with Barcelona while playing for the national side, said Tapia.

"A lot of the achievements we have are because of our captain, who came and put on the shirt, competed and won. Also the ability of our beloved coach, who put together a group, a way of working," he added.
 

– TIMES/AFP

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