The coach highlighted the moment the captain gave him a boost with his vote of confidence prior to their World Cup-winning campaign.
Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni has revealed how Lionel Messi left him feeling ‘encouraged’ and ‘relieved’ during a chat before the World Cup.
The conversation took place in San Juan following Argentina’s 0-0 draw with Brazil in a World Cup qualifier in November 2021, a year before the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The point was enough to secure Argentina a spot in Qatar, but left Scaloni wary of expectations, especially after just leading the team to a first trophy in almost three decades that year by winning the Copa America title.
“I’m going to tell you something, about a chat I had with him [Messi] in San Juan, after drawing 0-0 with Brazil,” Scaloni told reporters after Argentina’s World Cup final win over France on Sunday.
“I felt that what was going to come was going to be difficult and that the disappointment could be strong. So, before he went back to Paris, I sat down to talk to Messi. I raised the issue with him and he told me ‘we’ll continue because it’s probably going to go well and if it doesn’t then at least we’ll have tried’.”
Scaloni added: “[The talk] gave me a lot of encouragement. I felt anxious and with that talk, I felt relieved. I told him how I felt. With his response, I saw that something was being done well. It is a story that I want everyone to know because it’s great.”
Will Messi be around for the 2026 World Cup?
While Messi has ruled out retiring from international football for now, the Argentina captain expects the 2022 World Cup to be his last one.
“For the time being, I think we should save a place for him for the next World Cup,” Scaloni said on the 35-year-old’s availability for the 2026 tournament.
“In 2026, he can have the opportunity in his pocket, if he wants to continue playing.
“I think he’s earned the right to decide what to do with his football career, and with the Argentina national team he doesn’t have anything more to prove, not that he ever did.”