Neither Cruyff nor Guardiola could turn Argentina around, claims AFA director Menotti

By Ryan Benson 22 June 2019 382
Neither Cruyff nor Guardiola could turn Argentina around, claims AFA director Menotti

Not even Johan Cruyff or Pep Guardiola could turn things around with the current Argentina team, according to the Argentine Football Association's (AFA) director of national teams Cesar Luis Menotti.

Argentina have been in turmoil over the past 12 months, starting with the thoroughly underwhelming World Cup showing last year when they were eliminated in the last 16.

That cost Jorge Sampaoli his job and his assistant Lionel Scaloni stepped into the role on an interim basis, before being appointed permanently.

Two games into the 2019 Copa America, Argentina have just one point after a defeat to Colombia was followed by a draw with Paraguay, leaving them in danger of early elimination.

Menotti, who was coach when Argentina won their first World Cup in 1978, believes even the best coaches would not be able to fix things.

"Neither Cruyff nor Guardiola today could turn the history of the Argentine national team," he 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."

Menotti elaborated on his criticism of clubs, claiming the AFA hoped to implement plans that would have seen the best domestic Argentina players spend more time away from their teams, boosting familiarity and cohesion in the national side.

However, Menotti says the "leaders" of Superliga Argentina clubs refused to buy into the AFA's plans, and he pointed the finger at them.

"There was an intention to organise the selection, to train, to get together, to have a group of players training in Argentina," he said.

"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 the us to rely on them when they did nothing to defend the national team."

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