Argentina Coach Banking On Messi For World Cup Revival
New manager Jorge Sampaoli says he is looking to superstar, Lionel Messi to revive Argentina's World Cup fortunes starting with Friday's friendly with Brazil in Melbourne.
Sampaoli has been installed to kick-start the two-time world champions' ailing South American campaign where they lag outside the automatic qualifying positions in fifth spot with four games left.
Sampaoli, who is Argentina's third coach in the current World Cup campaign after Gerardo Martino and Edgardo Bauza, said he values Messi's commitment to get his country to next year's World Cup finals in Russia.
"I'm very thankful that the best player in the world cut short his vacation in China and was able to travel here for a friendly," Sampaoli told reporters on Thursday.
"He has the will to participate and drive Argentina to the World Cup, so he's very much involved toward these goals.
"The things that he's done for the team, especially this time round, are really valuable.
"I really hope that the abilities that he shows as a leader and as a player will help Argentina improve."
Sampaoli wants to use the Melbourne match to see Messi and Paris Saint-Germain's Angel Di Maria work together.
"They are very good players, individually, and these friendly games give us the opportunity to test their compatibility and see how well they can work together," Sampaoli said."They're both great players and we have great expectations. I believe that they will be able to help the team."