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Argentina’s World Cup winning coach Scaloni, contemplates walking away

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Argentina’s World Cup-winning manager Lionel Scaloni made the stunning admission that he was contemplating walking away from his position after his team achieved the rare feat of beating Brazil in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday.

Scaloni’s shocking pronouncement about his future came out of nowhere during his press conference at the Maracana Stadium, where Argentina had beaten their rivals 1-0 to stay top of the South American qualifying standings for the 2026 World Cup.

“Argentina needs a coach who has all the energy possible and who is well … I need to stop the ball and start thinking, I have a lot of things to think about during this time,” Scaloni, who took no questions, said in his opening remarks.

“These players have given a lot to the coaching staff and I need to think a lot about what I’m going to do.

“It’s not goodbye or anything, but I need to think because the bar is very high and it’s complicated to keep going and it’s complicated to keep winning.

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“These guys are making it difficult, so I need to think about it for a while. I will talk to the FA president and the players afterwards.”

The 45-year-old took over as manager in 2018 and led Argentina to the Copa America title in 2021 — their first major trophy since the 1986 World Cup — before the Albiceleste landed their third global title in Qatar last year.

His captain Lionel Messi retired from the international game in 2016 before returning to reassume the huge burden of expectation of success from a country where football has been likened to a religion.

“We are sure and hope that Scaloni will continue,” Argentina defender Cristian Romero told reporters.

“Let’s see now he will have time to think, he didn’t say anything in the dressing room about it. We will try to convince him.”

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-Reuters

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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