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24th Jun 2018

Javier Mascherano denies reports of mutiny in Argentina squad

There have been reports of a team revolt

Reuben Pinder

Lionel Messi is reportedly calling the shots

Javier Mascherano has denied all reports that relations between Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli and the national team squad have broken down.

After Argentina’s humiliating defeat to Croatia, reports circulated that Sampaoli had lost the control of his dressing room and surrendered control to the players, namely Lionel Messi.

However, despite their disastrous World Cup campaign, Mascherano has insisted that “the relationship with the coach is completely normal”.

“Obviously, when we feel uncomfortable about something we speak with him because if we didn’t we would be hypocrites,” he continued.

“We know the situation is tricky,” Mascherano said. “We have to be united, to express our opinions, and do everything possible so the team goes into the game in the best position.”

Speaking about Lionel Messi, who has come under severe scrutiny during this World Cup for supposedly not stepping up when needed, Mascherano defended his former Barcelona teammate.

“He’s fine,” Mascherano said. “He’s a key player, but he’s a human being who has his own frustrations.

“Everyone is like that, but he really wants to reverse the idea people have of him.”

Sampaoli is reported to have met with the Argentine FA President Caludio Tapa, who has given the coach his backing.
Presumably though, Sampaoli will be sacked if Argentina do not make it out the group, a fate they are desperate to avoid.

Their match against Nigeria on Tuesday night is a must win for Messi and co. who have looked a disjointed, incoherent muss thus far in Russia.