Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli has been criticised for yielding too much power to superstar Lionel Messi, and it has now been claimed it was the FC Barcelona man who decided Sergio Aguero should be brought on during their 2018 FIFA World Cup win over Nigeria.
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Many speculated that Sampaoli lost the trust of his players following Argentina’s first two matches at the tournament, from which they picked up just one point, putting them on the brink of elimination.
It was claimed the players had asked the tactician to step down ahead of their clash with Nigeria, and although that seemingly proved to be false, it was also said that some of the senior players in the squad had a hand in picking the team that played against the Super Eagles.
This appeared evident when several changes were made to the Argentina starting line-up that eventually secured the Albiceleste a place in the round of 16, where they will meet France. Messi and Marcos Rojo scored against Nigeria to send the Argentines through, while Croatia beat Iceland in the other Group D fixture.
While Messi's influence in the Argentina dressing room has never been questioned, several reports from across the world have pointed out that midway through the second half of the Albiceleste's match against Nigeria, with the score at 1-1, Sampaoli seemingly asked the 31-year-old if he should bring Sergio Aguero on from the bench.
According to Marca, the boss consulted Messi before making the change, with lip readers suggesting that Sampaoli asked: "Do I put on Kun (Aguero)?"
Other reports have suggested that it was Messi who first told the coaching staff to bring the Manchester City striker on before even speaking to the manager about the change.
Aguero was introduced just minutes after Messi and the manager's conversation on the touchline, but he could find himself in the starting XI when they meet France in the round of 16 on Saturday.
Do you think it is good for a coach to surrender so much power to one his players? Let us know in the comments section below.