Jorge Sampaoli and Argentina Football Association President, Chiqui Tapia, have come to a verbal agreement about the termination of the La Albiceleste manager’s contract.
Knocked out by France in the round of 16, Argentina’s tactical ineptitude was wholly exposed by a far superior team.
President Tapia has made his feelings clear on Sampaoli, with his lack of trust for the coach turning a fractured relationship to one that was irreparable: “If it tells you it’s sunny, I came out with an umbrella,
“One day he tells the canchero that the grass is long and when the mower passes, he assures him that it is short. One day he falls in love with one player and the other is the worst of them all. And so with everything. You do not know for which side you can leave. It’s a kite, “
A lack of consistency was one of the things that doomed the Argentina side in this World Cup, with Sampaoli never knowing his best team. Injuries to Sergio Romero and Manuel Lanzini hampered tournament build-up, but against Croatia they looked absolutely lost.
Many had speculated of a coup d’etat in the national team, with Lionel Messi taking over as boss. It appeared that the captain ordered the then manger to put on Sergio Aguero in the crucial group match against Nigeria.
Realistically, this announcement was foreseeable for the most part after what happened in Russia, but questions will be asked of where the Argentine FA are to go next. With three presidents in four years and a lack of forward planning, many will see the national job as a poisoned chalice.
Diego Simeone of Atletico Madrid and Mauricio Pochettino of Spurs will be key targets, however it is unlikely either will relinquish their current club position. Nearer to home, River Plate coach Marcelo Gallardo could be asked, but he is not a fan of the AFA’s current hierarchy.
If the rumours of Messi legitimately retiring from national team duty are true, whoever takes the reins will have an almighty job to do. Argentina’s closest opportunity for silverware is next summer’s Copa America in Brazil.