Lionel Scaloni speaks on the future of Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria

World Cup - South American Qualifiers - Argentina v Venezuela

Argentina national team Lionel Scaloni talked about the future of the Argentine national team, Lionel Messi and  Di María.

Lionel Scaloni gave Marca an interview where he talked about becoming a coach.  Lionel Scaloni also talked about the future of the team and the players. When asked about the debate about Lionel Messi being named the best player in the world, here’s what he had to say:

“I think the debate goes beyond football, I don’t think there is a debate between the footballer or the coach about why he won it. If Haaland or Mbappé won it, that would be fine too. It’s a media thing. Debating why Messi won when football people vote is strange.”

On how Javier Mascherano said that if Argentina were to qualify for the Olympics, he wanted Lionel Scaloni to coach the team and Messi and Di María to play:

“First of all: he will be the coach. I hope they pass but first they have to qualify for the pre-olympics and if they do I want him to be Javi’s coach because he deserves it for the work he is doing. As for Ángelo and Leo, these are decisions that need to be made at that moment, especially physically, because playing the Olympics while playing in the Copa America is not easy. They will be evaluated when the time comes. But Javi will be the coach, that’s for sure.”

On what the expectations are for Argentina at the Copa America and whether or not there is more pressure after how well they did in Qatar:

“Argentina was always under pressure. From the moment we arrived, we knew we were in a big national team and that everyone expected the best from us. I keep saying the same thing: we’re going to compete, I never promised anything, nothing is promised here, not before, not now. We promise to compete as much as possible with all our opponents and try to win and leave an image that Argentine football likes, as well as us.”

If winning the World Cup and beating Brazil in the Copa America at the Maracana sets the bar too high, and if he maintains it, he risks running out of challenges:

“True, the bar is very high, I don’t know if it will be any higher. But what should I do? I’m going to go home now, sit on the couch and that’s it for me at 45? Nooo! The nice thing is that there will be a moment of difficulty, surely everyone has had it and we will have it. And in this difficulty we will have to climb back up like we did before. It happened to me in my football career too: good times and bad times. And there we will really see if we are ready or not. But that doesn’t scare me, not at all.”

On the current state of his relationship with the AFA after meeting Claudio Tapia:

“When I said we have to think, it was an important moment. Good things are coming, the Copa América, and in two years the World Cup is the moment when we have to think, above all we have to clarify what we want with the national team, give opportunities to other guys who are being pushed from the back. It was a summary of what was to come and I think the time was right. The next game was four months away and it was important, as I said, to stop the ball. I think it was positive because it made us think about what’s to come.”

He has a contract with Argentina until 2026 and how he sees the Argentina national team on the day Lionel Messi, Ángel Di María and Nicolás Otamendi are no longer in the team:

“At the end, the time came when Maradona left the Argentine national team, Ruggeri left, great players left and Argentina moved on. It will hurt a lot because they are great players who have given so much, but we have an obligation because the Argentine national team, apart from Leo or Maradona, has always been a powerful team and we will struggle to stay that way without them. That’s what we have to strive for, because at some point they won’t be there: to build a team that is equally competitive against other players. We have to imagine it and set goals for ourselves when they are gone.”

On the rumors of Lionel Messi playing in his sixth World Cup in 2026 and if possible:

“I’m telling you today that there are players who have played at this age, and in his case I wouldn’t be surprised. But there’s so much missing and time goes by so fast in football these days and when you realize… I think so. On a physical level I have no doubts, only on a mental level and that depends on what it is.”

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