World Cup 2022: How can Lionel Scaloni’s popularity help Argentina win the World Cup?

  • Marcos Alves
  • BBC Sport

Why can Lionel Scaloni's popularity help Argentina win the World Cup?

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Scaloni’s popularity skyrocketed in Argentina during the run-up to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

A year after retiring from football, Lionel Scaloni felt a huge emptiness that was hard to ignore. The former West Ham United full-back missed football so much that he was willing to reach out to the amateur club Son Caleo, next door to his home on the island of Mallorca, to tell them he was ready to work. With the club’s juniors if that’s possible!

This has already happened and Scaloni took over the youth training at the amateur club in 2016. After one of the training sessions, Scaloni heard some reports indicating that Lionel Messi had decided to retire from international football with the Argentina national team. Scaloni couldn’t believe it, and posted a picture of his former teammate from the Copa America final with a desperate message saying: “This picture says it all… Don’t go, Leo.”

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The photo that Scaloni published of Messi when he decided to retire from international football in 2016

Six years after that, Scaloni is preparing to lead Argentina in the World Cup final against France, having managed so far to help Messi present his best levels ever in the World Cup, and after leading tango dancers to win the Copa America title in Brazil in 2021, This ended a lean 28-year period without winning any championships.

Since then, the Argentina national team has been dubbed ‘La Scaloneta’, in reference to the huge impact the young manager has had since taking charge. Now, the 44-year-old manager is the most popular man in the country.

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