Seville, May 19 (IANS) Sevilla head coach Jorge Sampaoli on Friday said he can’t turn down the chance to coach Argentina and he has a few clauses in his contract that allow him to leave the Spanish football club — which will be taken care of by the Argentine football association and the club.
“My contract with the club has a few clauses enabling me to leave. There is a clear intention on the part of my country to have me as their manager and I have wanted this opportunity from a young age. It’s an opportunity that I turned down when I took over at Sevilla in pre-season, but is still there,” Sampaoli said at a news conference, as posted in Sevilla’s website.
“I feel that I would only stop my career — and everything that I’ve done to become a manager in one of the best leagues — to go and manage Argentina. It’s something that I can’t turn down now. But the president is in charge of this, there’s a contract to respect and nothing has been resolved yet. That said, my contract has a few clauses that allow me to leave,” he added.
Argentina fired head coach Edgardo Bauza in April after just eight games in charge which saw a floundering 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign so far. At the fifth spot in their World Cup qualifying group and, with just four matches left to play, Argentina are at risk of missing out on the Russia meet.
Sampaoli has reportedly a release clause of 1.5 million euros ($1.67 million).
“The matter of the contract has to be cleared up between the club and the (Argentina) Federation. In the last meeting I had with the president I conveyed that I was keen to manage the match on Saturday, that there was no chance of me not doing that.
“Now if they reach an understanding it has to be between them, AFA and Club, it’s something I want to be settled without breaks, it’s important for me that there’s understanding on both sides.”
He denied that he had selected an Argentina squad. “To give them that squad I have to have authorisation from my club, Sevilla FC, over and above the fact that the media speculation might say I’ve acted in secret. I haven’t needed that, I’ve acted with full clarity and transparency with the club for the whole year,” he clarified.
But Sampaoli insisted that his mind was on Saturday’s game against Osasuna, who are already relegated, before giving his verdict on the 2016/17 campaign.
“There’s one game left and it’s as important as the first,” he said, according to Sevilla’s website.
“Our goal was to exceed 70 points and we’re hopeful of doing that. For me, to assess ourselves on a personal level and as a group, we’ve spent a year competing at the top among the best teams in La Liga.
“We were there against Lyon, Juventus, we were knocked out unfairly against Leicester when we deserved to go through (in the Champions League). We’ve averaged 1.7 goals per game. The sporting project has been good, the team had an identity in the way they played which the Sevilla fans appreciated. All of this filled us with hope and expectation over the course of 12 months.
“We got a new team organised, we competed against strong teams, the best sporting director in the club’s history left and not even that stopped the team from carrying on fighting.”