Buenos Aires, April 14 (IANS) Former Argentina boss Sergio Batista believes current Albiceleste manager Lionel Scaloni should remain in his job at least until the 2022 World Cup, regardless of results at next year’s Copa America.
The two-time World Cup winners have had seven managers in the past decade and Batista said now is the time for continuity.
“Hopefully his cycle will be until Qatar in 2022 and that he can continue with this group of players no matter what happens in the Copa America,” Batista told Argentinian radio station Club Octubre on Monday, reports Xinhua news agency.
Scaloni replaced Jorge Sampaoli as Argentina’s head coach after the team’s erratic performances at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where they were eliminated in the last 16 by eventual champions France.
After an inauspicious start to his term, Scaloni led the Albiceleste to a creditable third place at the 2019 Copa America in Brazil.
Batista said he harbours no ill feeling for losing his job as Argentina’s head coach after their quarterfinal elimination from the 2011 Copa America on home soil.
“I knew that if we didn’t win the Copa America in 2011, I had to go,” said Batista, a former midfielder who was a part of the Argentina team that won the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. “You know that when you lose in Argentina you have to move on.”
The 57-year-old had special praise for current Albiceleste captain Lionel Messi, whom he compared with his former national team colleague, Diego Maradona.
“They do things that make you say, ‘These guys are not from here, they got off a spaceship’,” Batista said.
“Football-wise they are very similar. They both have that way of using their left foot and do everything that great players do. Messi doesn’t need to win a World Cup to be one of the best in history.”