herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

Simeone and Pochettino Argentine targets

Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: PA
Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: PA

Mauricio Pochettino and Diego Simeone are among men Argentina want to talk to about the national team coach vacancy following last month's shock resignation of Gerardo Martino.

Armando Perez, head of an Argentine FA (AFA)Regularisation Committee, also plans to talk to Lionel Messi with a view to asking the team's former captain to reverse his decision to quit international soccer.

Naming a new coach is a matter of urgency with 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Venezuela scheduled in early September.

The crisis at competitive international level was exacerbated last month when Argentina lost the Copa America final on penalties to Chile, Messi said he was quitting the team and Martino resigned a week later, ostensibly over problems in naming a side for next month's Olympic Games.

Perez plans to fly to Europe next month because he wants to hear personally from Atletico Madrid's Simeone and former Chile boss Jorge Sampaoli, now at Sevilla, their views on the national team. Both have said their ambition is to coach Argentina and would be popular choices.

Perez, president of first division club Belgrano, will not be visiting Spurs boss Pochettino, another former Argentina player widely regarded as a future national coach, in London but plans to talk to him from Spain about his availability.

His last stop will be Barcelona for talks with Messi. "It would be gratifying for everyone to persuade Messi to desist from his decision (to quit)," Perez told reporters.

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