Before The Best awards ceremony in Paris, The Argentine Football Association and its president Claudio “Chiqui” Tapia confirmed through their social networks the renewal of Lionel Scaloni’s contract, the technical director of the Argentine team world champion in Qatar 2022 who will continue in his position until the tripartite World Cup between the United States, Mexico and Canada in 2026.
“Confirmed: There is Scaloni for a while, we continue!”, announced the account of the Argentine National Team. For his part, Tapia published that “when trust is high, communication is simple and effective. We continue to strengthen the national team project, together with Lionel Scaloni, the world champion coach”, and attached a photo with Scaloni to the message. in the meeting they held in a hotel in the French capital.
“It is very important to have the continuity of the coaching staff that made us world champions. Continuing this project is the best thing that can happen to us,” Tapia later told TyC Sports. In addition, he added about the agreement: “We already had it confirmed before, we just needed to be able to see each other”. Regarding the delay in the announcement and the uncertainty that had been generated, the president of the AFA it was blunt. “We were sure, because we are two men of our word. Luckily it will be the continuity of a project that he leads and the players had expressed it that way”, he stated.
Scaloni will continue to lead the national team together with his qualified team of collaborators comprising Pablo Aimar, Walter Samuel and Roberto Ayala as alternate technicians and field assistants, Matias Manna as a video analyst, Louis Martin as physical trainer and Martin Tocalli as a goalkeeping coach. To rearm the coaching staff, a new alternate physical trainer will be added before the departure of Rodrigo Barrioswho went to work in Malaysia.
Negotiations between Scaloni and Tapia began at the end of September, in the last window of friendlies prior to the World Cup in Qatar. On the 28th of that month, Tapia announced on his Twitter account the continuity of the technical director until 2026 in the middle of the final preparation tour of the United States, but for various reasons the signing was delayed. After winning the World Cup in Qatar, both Tapia and Scaloni ratified the agreement “orally” on repeated occasions. But the important economic differences that existed to renew the link on both sides transcended.
Scaloni requested an international level contract according to the title obtained and that AFA would pay the taxes. And he also asked to have some degree of interference in the appointment of the technicians of the Under 20 Selection, a power that Tapia claimed for himself. After a logical tug of war between the parties, only this Monday AFA made official the renewal of Scaloni’s contract until the end of Argentina’s participation in the next World Cup.
All parties got what they wanted. The players, led by captain Lionel Messi, managed to keep Scaloni and his team at the forefront in the new stage that will begin from now on. Scaloni will continue directing Messi, deepening the successful process and leading the renewal. AND AFA gives continuity to a process that began in 2018 with the departure of Jorge Sampaoli after the World Cup in Russia and ratifies the confidence of a coaching staff that was assembled and consolidated on the fly. and that gave Argentine soccer, the Copa América in Brazil in 2021, the Finalissima of Continental Champions in 2022 and fundamentally, its third world champion star in Qatar after 36 years.
The friends that are coming
With Scaloni’s continuity assured, the next step for the Argentine national team will be to announce the friendly matches for the next FIFA window in March. The first would go on Thursday, March 23 at the River Plate Monumental stadium against Panama (61st in the latest FIFA ranking). Then, the “Albiceleste” would play on March 28 in Santiago del Estero against Curaçao (86th) although that match could take place at the Mario Kempes stadium in Córdoba.
For those two parties, Scaloni would mention the 26 players who were on the World Cup squad and Nicolás González, Joaquín Correa and Giovani Lo Celso could also be added, the footballers who, due to their injuries, lost their place on the final list.
In addition, it is possible that two juveniles appear, Alexander Garnacho (Manchester United) and Maximo Perrone (Manchester City), which will be part of the inevitable renewal that Scaloni will have to face to play the South American Qualifiers from September this year, the 2024 Copa América in the United States and, of course, the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada.