“I fought with Messi”: Sampaoli’s former teammate reveals what went wrong in the 2018 World Cup with Argentina


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"I fought with Messi": Sampaoli's former teammate reveals what went wrong in the 2018 World Cup with Argentina

In an interview with ESPN.com, coach Márcio Zanardi, who worked with the Argentine in Santos in 2019, revealed details of what he heard from Sampaoli about his difficult time with Argentina.

Known for his explosive personality, Jorge Sampaoli is in front of Marseilles, but before reaching France and work on Brazil, the coach went through a turbulent period as Argentina coach between 2017 and 2018. During the World Cup in Russia he had problems with several players from ‘La Albiceleste’.

An emblematic scenario of the chaos experienced by Argentina under Sampaoli was the image that went viral in Russia, of the defensive midfielder Javier Mascherano speaking with the coach. The South American country’s media reported that, in the midst of a crisis with the coach, it was the players who began to lead the team.

‘La Albiceleste’ barely made it past the group stage and then fell in the round of 16 with France.

In an interview with ESPN.com, coach Márcio Zanardi, who worked with the Argentine in Santos in 2019, revealed details of what he heard from Sampaoli and his coaching staff about his difficult time with Argentina.

“In a conversation I asked him what happened at the World Cup. The assistant told me: ‘He fought with our best player, and that’s why we lost.’ Sampaoli also told me: ‘I fought with Messi.’ He had a very strong personality. Sometimes the group lost a little because of that madness of being so demanding “, said the technician, currently in São Bernardo.

The Brazilian, who at that time commanded the Santos sub-20, says that the coach practically lived in the club: he arrived at the Training Center around 7 in the morning and left at 10 at night.

“He would go to the gym, do performance analysis and watch games late. At 200 kilometers per hour all the time. He is a guy who is that. He is not theater or marketing. He talks to you and then he does not look you in the face because he is thinking in ten things. Anyone who is not used to it thinks he is an arrogant or difficult guy. But it was a unique experience working with him for a year and two months there. I learned a lot “, praise.

Zanardi He says that he brought some of the Argentine coach’s practices into his daily life.

“We can configure very intense training sessions with a lower volume. They are 80-minute training sessions divided into four moments. Sampaoli said that if Brazilian players changed their behavior, such as knowing how to play without the ball, they would be the best in the world.” he asserted.


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