Lionel Messi still has not reversed his plans to retire from Argentina soccer, but the Argentina Football Association hopes to change that.
The AFA is planning to send new AFA president Armando Perez to Spain to try to convince both Messi to return to the team and try to woo Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli to take over the team, according to Spanish newspaper Marca. (Perez was appointed to run the beleaguered AFA by FIFA until a new president can be elected.)
"I spoke with Leo's father and communicated that next week I would travel and talk to him," Perez said, according to reports. "It is important to see if Messi will work with us for the qualifying campaign for the World Cup."
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One big problem is that Argentina does not currently have a coach. As of Friday, Sampaoli said he would not leave his club, telling Sevilla's website: "I had a call from the president of the (Argentine football) federation, but it would be irresponsible for me to leave Sevilla."
That does not bode well for the efforts to bring Messi back on board. Although his heartbreaking loss to Chile in yet another tournament final was a major reason for Messi's decision to leave international soccer, he also cited poor management from the AFA. Even with an interim president in place and efforts to fix the federation's many problems, it's difficult to see Messi reconsidering his plans without a coach in place.
In addition to Sampaoli, Ramon Diaz and Carlos Bianchi are both reported to be options to fill the vacant coaching spot. World Cup qualifying resumes for Argentina in September.
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