Lionel Scaloni was crowned best coach at the FIFA gala (Photo: FIFA)

(From Paris, France) A happy but measured Lionel Scaloni He tackled all the issues after lifting the statuette of the best coach of the year during the gala of the The best in Paris: the current joy for the title, if Messi and Di María arrive at the next World Cup, the two friendly celebrations in Argentina and the weakness of the invited rivals, and how will be the next calls of the arrival of a new generation of footballers while Alejandro Garnacho (18) stands out at Manchester United.

— You went through all the stages, from being criticized for never having managed a team when you took over as technical director of the national team, to being considered the best coach of the year for the FIFA…

— I’m happy, because in the end, it’s the result of teamwork. Beyond the fact that this is an individual award, it represents a lot of what has been achieved as a group, as a coaching staff, as a national team. Glad to cap it off this way but it continues now, it doesn’t stop.

— We just announced that you have renewed the contract with the AFA and that you will continue until 2026, although (Claudio) chiki Tapia speaks of “continuity” and not of “renewal”. What do you think of this semantic difference?

— It’s the same (smile), we’re on the same line. We are happy to be able to continue and to continue working with this group of players who have given us so much.

— It was an Argentine evening, it’s also historic because during the two previous World Cups won, these galas did not exist.

— Yes, and I think it’s just because of what was achieved, the way it was achieved, very emotional and the people too, that the Argentinian fans won another award. It was complete and we have to take advantage of it because it’s not easy to achieve and there are four years left and I don’t know if we can win again, so let’s take advantage of it.

— Few times in history, only twice (Italy 1934-38 and Brazil 1958-62), a team has been consecutive double world champion. Argentina was at the gates in 1990. Is there a thought on your part on the horizon regarding this challenge? Do you see it possible?

— Well… It’s been so long before that, that thinking now seems a long way off. We have yet to enjoy this, which is unique. Beyond that it continues, you have to take advantage of it, savor it, and when the time comes, compete.

— Just like the week before the World Cup, for example, you had to make strong decisions (which were well accepted by the players), now I ask you about a new generation of footballers who are applying to enter the national team and you will present the dilemma of how to bring them in. How are you going to summon and play those who appear, added to those who have been excluded from the World Cup, by very little or by injury?

“As we did: by merit. Everything is merit. We don’t look at the card, we don’t look at the age, we look at the merits. We can be wrong and people in some cases think that one is better than another, but we go to the bottom and if he is 17 and he is very good and we think he must be there, it will be there. And if he’s in his thirties and we think he should be there, he will be there too. For us there, the truth is that it is quite easy to be able to decide and it is a team that has great players among the possible call-ups.

— Will Leo Messi and Ángel Di María come to the next World Cup? How do you see it today? Because it seems like a distant projection, but there is not much time left for the next World Cup.

– Do you think so? I just finished one (laughs).

— No, but think that for the previous World Cup there were four and a half years of recess, and for this one there were three and a half, and now there are three years and three months left…

– Yes, it’s shorter, it’s true. But there is a Copa América ahead, other things are missing, but logically, we will take them as we must take them so that they can arrive, but all in due time, there is a terrible classification to be made, and we hope all is well.

Scaloni, on the summons that comes: "We don't look at the map, we don't look at the age, we look at the background" (Photo: Reuters/Sarah Meyssonnier)
Scaloni, on the quotes that come up: “We don’t look at the map, we don’t look at the age, we look at the bottom” (Photo: Reuters/Sarah Meyssonnier)

— How do you see Messi? I would be 39…

“It will depend a lot on how you are, on your mood. He is a player who has his passion for football and in the end, he is happy on the pitch, and as long as he is happy, let him play. He is hungry, he wants to win. And in this he is unique.

— Now come other strong emotions, like playing the two games in front of the Argentinian public. Did you imagine these rivals? Do you think they are corresponding rivals for a team with the tradition of Argentina and recent world champions?

– For three years we haven’t had rivals, because of the UEFA Nations League and because of everything that’s going on, the truth is that we have to go and get free rivals and unfortunately that’s how the calendar and these matches were, How was the situation after the World Cup? Welcome that people can see us playing in our country. Otherwise, we would have gone far enough and it wouldn’t have been good.

— With the panorama you have, would you like the Argentinian team to join a future World or European Nations League as was mentioned at some point as a guest with Brazil?

– No, I have no idea. I don’t see the South Americans playing in the European Nations League unless it’s an invitation, but honestly I don’t know what will happen.

— The other day you received very high praise from Ricardo Gareca, who is about to be the technical director of the Ecuadorian team, and he said that he felt represented by the game of the Argentine team at the World Cup and that there was justification for the style of the Argentine footballer.

— Yes, I agree with what you said in an interview which I don’t know if it was on a graphic medium or on the radio, especially what you said about young boys, without forgetting ours, on South America, on the ball game, that when they grow up they will teach them tactics, strategy. I think what he says is perfect and I believe in South American football. Then they go to Europe and it’s not that they get better or worse. They come to Europe and end up consolidating because they leave very young but they get there, and that’s the reality.

— You managed to end the crack, something unusual in Argentina.

– No, no, the crack will always be there. It is a country of football. There will always be arguments, but when criticism is constructive, it is welcome.

Continue reading:

Scaloni named those who will continue in the national team’s youth project and omitted Mascherano: doesn’t he follow?
Lionel Scaloni was voted the best coach of 2022 at The Best awards gala: his humble speech after receiving the recognition
Official: AFA announces that Lionel Scaloni will remain coach of the Argentina team until 2026

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