Sampaoli keen to build around 'very excited' Messi

Ellen Mills
June 3, 2017

Argentine FA has confirmed Jorge Sampaoli as the new head coach of the country's senior national team, after agreeing to part ways with Sevilla.

Argentina's new soccer coach Jorge Sampaoli holds up a jersey featuring his name at the end of a press conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, June 1, 2017.

"My contract? It extends to the 2022 World Cup".

But now after landing his "dream job" - his third in 18 months - Sampaoli will be tasked with leading Argentina through to the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation.

Argentina now lie fifth in their qualification group and only the top four automatically go through to the finals.

After a short break, he replaced Unai Emery at Sevilla last July, leading the Andalusian outfit to fourth place in La Liga and the last 16 of the Champions League.

The Casilda native has been linked with the job for months, and speculation only heightened when Edgardo Bauza was relieved of his duties in April after less than a year in charge.

But Sampaoli believes in their chances of reaching Russian Federation 2018, saying: "We are convinced that we have the resources to qualify". "I talked to him and he's very excited".

Sampaoli has the benefit of having arguably the world's best player at his disposal and the former Chile and Sevilla coach said Messi was ready to shine.

There are four rounds of matches to go with Argentina on 22 points from 14 matches, behind already-qualified leaders Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and Chile.

"We want for the best player in the world to be happy being here", Sampaoli said.

Argentina face Uruguay in Montevideo on Aug 31.

"It is a dream that I cherished for ages". Then they have home matches against Venezuela and Peru and finish with a visit to Ecuador, who are sixth with 20 points.

Another change Sampaoli plans involves Javier Mascherano, who has featured in midfield for the national team despite playing as a defender for Barcelona.

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