Argentina men’s national football team head coach Lionel Scaloni eased the minds of Albiceleste fans on Wednesday by confirming he’ll be staying on the job for the foreseeable future. The World Cup-winning coach had set off alarms after he said he wanted to “think things through” after Argentina’s 1-0 win against Brazil in November of last year.
“Right now, it’s time to carry on,” said Scaloni in an interview with Sky Sports Italia. “I always told the truth. That was a moment to think and figure things out; it wasn’t a farewell or anything like that. I was thinking about the future of the national team.”
The Argentina boss, who won the 2021 Copa América and the 2022 World Cup with the Albiceleste, insisted his words in Brazil were meant only as a “moment of reflection” and that he looks forward to giving more room to younger people, something he considers important.
He also referred to Lionel Messi’s future with the national team. “[He] will continue to play until he decides otherwise. I think he’ll carry on, especially because he’s happy on the pitch. It’ll be harder for him [when he retires], but it’ll be difficult for all of us to never see him play again.”
Messi, unlike Ángel Di María, hasn’t confirmed whether he’ll retire from the national team after the 2024 Copa América, although he has often spoken about Qatar 2022 being his last World Cup.
Scaloni’s comments in November came as a shock to the public and players alike, given that there were no previous indications that he was thinking about stepping down.
The picture of the coaching staff at the Maracanã shared by Scaloni on Instagram after the game v. Brazil was immediately flooded with comments from fans asking him to stay. “45 million Argentines depend on you staying on; we will always support you,” read one of several comments in support of the coach.