Lionel Messi will take the spotlight when Argentina faces France in Sunday’s World Cup final. But he could have missed the pinnacle of his career without Lionel Scaloni. Scaloni was rescued from managerial obscurity and brought a disorganized Argentina side to the brink of greatness. The Argentine FA (AFA) made under-17 coach Scaloni interim manager in August 2018 after another World Cup fiasco.
Scaloni brought Messi and Argentina back to smiles
Messi declared his international retirement after the 4-3 loss to France in the last 16. Scaloni, a 40-year-old former player, had no head-coaching experience. After retiring in 2015, he joined Jorge Sampaoli’s Sevilla coaching staff in 2016. He followed him to Argentina and worked in Russia in 2018.
After Diego Simeone, Marcelo Gallardo, and Mauricio Pochettino declined offers to replace Sampaoli; the AFA promoted Scaloni as caretaker until a new manager could be found. Many Argentine greats, notably Diego Maradona, opposed the move. “He can’t handle traffic, let alone the national team. Are we crazy? “2018 Maradona. Renovating Scaloni brought Pablo Aimar, Walter Samuel, and Roberto Ayala as assistants.
After four straight final losses in the Copa America (2014-16) and the 2014 World Cup, they renovated the locker room. He won four of his first six friendlies without Messi to earn the job. He helped Messi end his eight-month international retirement. Since then, they’ve formed a connection that’s helped Messi’s national team career.
After losing the 2019 Copa America semi-final to Brazil, they went on a 36-game unbeaten run to capture their first major trophy in 28 years. The victory relieved Messi’s pressure and bonded him with his followers. It helped them recover from their opening setback to Saudi Arabia. They’re since perfect.
“I try not to get emotional, but it’s hard because I’m in Argentine paradise. My country’s representation is emotional “Scaloni said following Argentina’s 3-0 semi-final win over Croatia. Argentina’s run to the final wasn’t only emotional. Scaloni made important changes after the Saudi setback, bringing in promising stars Enzo Fernandez and Julian Alvarez.
He used three defenders against the Netherlands and three holding midfielders to neutralize Luka Modric. Argentina is on the brink of triumph because of Scaloni’s ability, and while Messi will steal the spotlight, his coach deserves his due.