Atletico Madrid’s Argentine manager Diego Simeone was overheard speaking to his assistant German Burgos in a leaked audio recording where the coach criticised the national team’s situation and also gave an opinion regarding Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
In the leaked audio, Simeone told his assistant that Messi plays well because he is surrounded by good players but in an ordinary team, Ronaldo will have a better chance.
Messi had little service against Croatia as Argentina midfield was completely nullified and they resorted to horizontal instead of penetrating passes. Simeone perhaps felt that without technical players in the team, it is hard to bring Messi into the game.
"Messi is very good but he is very good because he is surrounded by extraordinary players, if you have to choose between Messi and Ronaldo for a normal team who do you go for?" said Simeone, thus suggesting that Cristiano could make more of an impact even for an average team.
"What is happening at the moment is what has been happening in the national team for the past four years unfortunately. Anarchy, no leadership, neither at board level or those that run the team. The team looks lost. It's clear in the dressing room they are being given a slapping but someone needs to fight,” he continued.
Regarding goalkeeper Willy Caballero’s mistake, he then said it was unfortunate that Caballero had not concede in the friendly against Italy so that the team could realise that Caballero was not ready for the responsibility.
“The goalkeeper… He had done it already, German! He did it against Spain, against Italy that the ball went just wide near the post, and I told you it was a pity he didn’t concede so they’d realise that if you screw it in the World Cup, it’s a goal.
He also said that coach Jorge Sampaoli was most responsible for the defeat saying: “We all always say that footballers are the most important in this game, and we know it’s like that. They’re 60%, not 90%. Because when we coaches screw it up it’s worse than when footballers do, which means coaches play a big role in this.”