• News

Menotti: Not even Cruyff or Guardiola could fix Argentina

Getty Images

Cesar Luis Menotti admitted that even some of the greatest coaches in Johan Cruyff and Pep Guardiola would be powerless to save Argentina.

After losing the 2014 World Cup final to Germany, things have only gone from bad to worse for Argentina and it nearly saw Lionel Messi head off to early retirement in 2016.

La Albiceleste have suffered back-to-back Copa America final defeats and were eliminated in the last-16 stage of last summer’s World Cup in the last five years.

Now, they could hit a new all-time low on Sunday by exiting the Copa America group stages for the first time since 1983.

In this nightmarish period, Argentina have turned to four different coaches in Gerardo Martino, Edgardo Bauza, Jorge Sampaoli and now Lionel Scaloni.

But even the nation’s 1978 World Cup-winning manager, Menotti, thinks Argentina’s current crisis is beyond even the very best in the business.

“Neither Cruyff nor Guardiola today could turn the history of the Argentine national team,” the now-director of the Argentine Football Association’s (AFA)’s national teams told Diario Popular.

“It reflects the present great complexity that Argentina is living through. Scaloni, of course, has to be evaluated, because we are all evaluated every day.

“It is essential to see the complete development, the complete overview. If we do not do so and we only partially look at it, then we are wrong.

“This selection had almost no rehearsal, it goes out and plays, and of course it is exposed, without a broad plan of work and without a schedule that all the areas of football respect, especially the [club] leaders. The selection will not recover.”

The 80-year-old then hit out at the leaders of domestic clubs for buying into the AFA’s plan to send Argentina’s best domestic abroad.

“There was an intention to organise the selection, to train, to get together, to have a group of players training in Argentina,” continued Menotti.

“But the leaders did not allow it because of different interests, and that greatly weakens any player and any coach.

“Argentina has to improvise and there is a political use of criticism, criticising a selection project that will start now, because when I arrived [at the AFA] there was only the president of the AFA, that’s why I am surprised by the opportunist leaders who criticise when the national team loses and they’re never worried.

“There are leaders who expect Argentina to be eliminated. It is obvious that it’s wrong for us to rely on them when they did nothing to defend the national team.”

Argentina will be in action on Sunday for their Group B finale in the Copa America against Qatar. Victory will be a must if they are to avoid elimination from the competition.

Currently, Scaloni’s side sit bottom of the group table with just a point from two games.

SALVADOR, BRAZIL – JUNE 15: Players of Argentina look dejected after losing the Copa America Brazil 2019 group B match between Argentina and Colombia at Arena Fonte Nova on June 15, 2019 in Salvador, Brazil. (Photo by Felipe Oliveira/Getty Images)