Argentina’s 1978 World Cup winning coach Cesar Luis Menotti has never been one to mince his words and the 77-year-old believes his countrymen face an uphill task to even qualify for the next World Cup.
Major problems within the Argentine Football Federation are said to be a major contributor to Lionel Messi’s premature retirement from international football.
“There are only five teams going from South America and without Lionel Messi [Argentina] run the risk of missing out,” Menotti told La Nacion.
“Maybe we need to start preparing for Qatar in 2022.”
Argentina have had to parachute in Julio Olarticoechea to take charge of the Olympic team next month following Gerardo Martino’s resignation, and Menotti was strident in his defence of the former Barcelona and Paraguay boss.
“I wouldn’t give [Martino] any rubbish for quitting,” said the ex-coach, “he and his staff weren’t paid for months, so no wonder he went crazy!”
“He was right to go.”
The veteran also discounted the possibility of Marcelo Bielsa returning to take the helm after his move to Lazio collapsed last week.
“There was some speculation that [the Lazio job] fell apart because he wanted to come back here, but that happened because Lazio went back on their promises,” stated Menotti.
“I don’t think he’s interested in the job.”
Diego Maradona has been a strong advocate for change in Argentina, although Menotti is less keen on the former attacker’s outspoken outbursts.
“I don’t really like to see this sort of thing,” said the Rosario-native.
“I had to put up with guys like this too who I didn’t like to listen to, like Diego Passarella and Americo Gallego.”
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