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Scaloni's Shocking Exit: Unraveling Argentina's Post-World Cup Turmoil

 Scaloni's Shocking Exit: Unraveling Argentina's Post-World Cup Turmoil

Lionel Scaloni, Head Coach of Argentina
Lionel Scaloni, Head Coach of Argentina, reacts as Lionel Messi of Argentina receives medical attention during a FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier match between Brazil and Argentina at Maracana Stadium on November 21, 2023 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.(Image-Getty) 

At the end of the Brazil-Argentina World Cup qualifying match at the Maracana, the conflict in the gallery and the heat on the field were at the center of discussion. Argentina fans were angry about the Brazilian police attack on Argentina fans before the start of the match, along with the joy of winning the match against Brazil. And Brazilians are angry about losing the match. But Argentina's coach Lionel Scaloni changed the topic of discussion in a moment. After the historic victory, he surprised everyone and signaled his departure. Such news from the hero behind Argentina's World Cup win after 36 years was totally unexpected. The news he gave was about the resignation of the coach of the Argentina team.

Scaloni said at the time, "Argentina needs a coach who has all the motivation possible and he... I have to stop and think now." Because I have a lot to think about at this time. These players have given a lot to the coaching staff. Now I need to think about what to do. Not saying goodbye or anything like that. But I have to think. Because the expectation level is very high, and to continue like this and stay on track to win is a very difficult task.'

His words were a thunderbolt for the Argentine fans. It is his hand to change the Argentina team which is in a continuous lack of success. It was Scaloni who changed the equation, although the beginning was not comfortable. Under the leadership of Lionel Messi, he prepared the team for the World Cup. Who later implemented Scaloni's 'blueprint' and brought the title to the country. Even after winning the World Cup, this coach led the team in the right direction and brought one victory after another. It was only natural that the possible departure of such a coach would come as a shock to the team. But the question is, why did Scaloni announce such a sudden departure? What happened that led him to such a decision?

Since Scaloni's announcement came out, the Argentine press has tried to put up various interpretations of it. Some say Scaloni's relationship with the Argentine Football Federation (AFA) has soured since the World Cup. Scaloni could not accept the fact that the process of extending his contract was prolonged. In addition, according to TOIC Sports, Scaloni, his colleagues and the players of the Argentina team have not received the World Cup bonus so far.

Earlier in 2018, Scaloni took over after the departure of Jorge Sampaoli. From then on, Scaloni's relationship with AFA president Claudio Tapia seemed inseparable. Even federation president Mauricio Pochettino chose the infamous Scalonice over high-profile coaches like Diego Simeone and Marcelo Gallardo. Because of this, Tapia was under a lot of pressure. Before taking charge of the Argentina team, Scaloni had experience as an assistant coach and in charge of age-level teams. However, Scaloni also proved the accuracy of Tapia's decision.

In the meantime, Scaloni had made his position absolute by winning the World Cup, but the reality was not like that. Because political and economic unrest has always had a significant impact on South American football, and Argentina is no exception. That politics also played a role in Scaloni's sudden decision. Ahead of Argentina's national elections, the country's finance minister and left-wing presidential candidate Sergio Massa requested a photo with the national team, according to a report by TYC Sports. This Masa is also very close to Tapia. But the players rejected this offer. The reason is that footballers do not want to be used for political purposes. Tapia then pressured Scaloni to convince the players. But it didn't help.

Masa had to enter the election without taking pictures with the players. Massa ultimately lost to right-wing candidate Javier Millei in the election, which was held the day before the Brazil match, which created pressure for Scaloni.

Meanwhile, Messi can't accept Scaloni's decision to be made public without talking to the team. Buenos Aires-based Radio 10 Scaloni said the day after the press conference that Messi did not like to talk to the international press about the future without discussing it with the team.

Did the tension between Scaloni and Messi start before the Brazil match? Messi did not speak to Scaloni before walking out with the team to protest the attack by Brazilian police on Argentina fans during the match. Messi's decision has created discontent among Scaloni and the team's staff.

Whether the reports of a Messi-Scaloni power struggle are true or not, it is true that the events surrounding the Argentina team have fueled Scaloni's frustration and exhaustion. And it's not the first time Scaloni has spoken of his struggles managing the team. Earlier in 2021, when Argentina were playing a World Cup qualifier in Qatar after winning the Copa America, Scaloni spoke of his desire to visit his family to escape the pressure. He then said, 'I just want to go home. I haven't seen my family for a long time. I'm not having positive family time right now to think about the World Cup. i want to go These months were very difficult for me. I don't want to think about anything else.'

After that, Scaloni had a good start to the tournament, even though he qualified for the World Cup. Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia in their first match in the group stage. After that match, Argentina was kind of on the edge of the abyss. Not only for themselves, Scaloni and the team's players also had to bear the pressure to ensure that Messi did not have to finish the World Cup empty-handed. These events also tired Scaloni.

Despite appearing tough on the outside, Scaloni's passion was evident after Gonzalo Montiel's trophy-clinching goal in the final. This Argentinian coach cried profusely that day. Scaloni also talked about the pressure of being the coach of Argentina on the podcast called 'Bobo Vieri Talk Show'. Scaloni told the talk show, hosted by former Lazio teammates Cristian Vieri and Cristian Brocchi, that he started suffering from a stomach rash a month after the World Cup final due to anxiety.

But before that, Scaloni must think more about his future in club football. If he can't come to a decision, the next Copa America might be an opportunity for him to make the right decision. Success or failure in that tournament may determine Scaloni's future. The Copa America, however, is a tournament that will decide the future of not only Scaloni, but Messi as well. Who knows, maybe both will end their Argentina careers with that event. However, if the title can be retained, the decision can be reversed. Now we have to wait some more time to know what happens in the end.

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