Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni is enjoying the fruits of his labour after an incredible run to World Cup glory in Qatar. Finding himself back in Spain, Scaloni sat down for an interview with Cadena Cope, where naturally Lionel Messi became a topic of conversation.
Earlier in the interview, Scaloni addressed Emiliano Martinez, who has come in for strong criticism for some of his World Cup celebrations. His national team boss perhaps was not as enamoured with his antics as many Argentinians were.
Speaking about Lionel Messi, presenter Juanma Castano recalled the comments of Villarreal manager Quique Setien, who famously said that Messi was difficult to manage.
“I don’t know if a coach said that it is not easy to train Messi. For me, in particular, training him is not difficult, on the contrary. At a technical level he cannot be corrected. What perhaps in some moments of pressure, in some way to attack [him], it is explained as you want it to be.”
Scaloni also highlighted an aspect of Messi’s game that is not frequently picked up on.
“I assure you that he is number one for pressing and robbing the ball. When he sees blood, he robs it better than anyone.”
Before commenting that managing Messi was not about mollycoddling a star.
“I always say that you can’t be looking at him for 24 hours, your eyes have to be on training.”
Despite Scaloni’s modesty, he is the only manager to build a convincing side around Messi at an international level. That is not to say that he is tricky to manage, but there is clearly an art to giving him the right amount of focus on and off the pitch.