A new book has claimed there was an explosive confrontation between Lionel Messi and manager Jorge Sampaoli during the just concluded World Cup campaign in Russia.
Sampaoli was sacked after La Albiceleste crashed out at the first knock-out stage in Russia.
Argentina barely escaped the group stages of the competition.
Argentina was torn apart by Croatia, suffering a humiliating 3-0 defeat in front of a worldwide audience.
Details of the bust-up between Argentina captain, Lionel and Sampaoli that followed that defeat to Croatia have now emerged.
Ariel Senosiain, a journalist with Argentina’s TYC Sport and a columnist for national sports newspaper Ole, made the revelations in his digital book entitled ‘Mundial es Historias’.
He explained how senior members of the team led my Messi and Mascherano squared up with Sampaoli and his assistants Sebastian Beccacece and Lionel Scaloni.
Senosiain said the players listed their grievances for 15 minutes before telling the manager, “We do not get what you say. We no longer trust you. We want to have an opinion.”
“On what?” Sampaoli asked, to which the group replied: “Everything.”
According to the book, the Argentina boss then asked, “So you are going to put the team together, direct in training, everything?”
Messi replied, “You have asked me ten times which players I wanted in the line-up and which I didn’t, and I never gave you a single name. Tell me, in front of everyone, if I ever gave you any names.”
The book also notes that in addition to the playing and coaching staff, Claudio Tapia, president of the AFA, was also present in the dressing room. After that row, he is said to have told Sampaoli: “You have to give in.”
What followed in Argentina’s next match would suggest Sampaoli took that advice on board when he appeared to ask Messi if he should send on Sergio Aguero in their do-or-die clash with Nigeria.
Footage emerged of the former Sevilla boss frantically inquiring, “Flea [Messi], what do I do?
“I put on Kun?” with his side tied at 1-1, needing a winner to progress to the last 16.