Sevilla’s Sampaoli says could not snub ‘dream’ Argentina job
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MADRID, May 19 — Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli said today a firm offer to coach Argentina would be too tempting to turn down, adding negotiations between his native country and the La Liga club were well advanced.
The Argentine FA, which sacked Edgardo Bauza in April after just eight games in charge, have identified Sampaoli as their choice to take over the national team and revitalise a faltering 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.
The South American heavyweights sit fifth in their group and, with just four matches left to play, are in danger of missing out on a place in Russia.
“My dream from a young age has been to manage my national team... My country has the clear intention of offering me the job,” Sampaoli told a news conference.
Emphasising he had yet to sign a contract, he added: “I’d only leave here if it were to go and take over my country. It is an offer that I would not be able to refuse.”
Sampaoli interrupted a long career in South America after coaching Chile to the 2015 Copa America trophy and, in his only season in European soccer, has taken Sevilla to fourth place in the league, their best showing since 2010.
He also steered the club to the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time since 2010.
But they were eliminated in an under-par 3-2 aggregate defeat to England’s Leicester City, part of a late-season run that brought just three wins in 13 games and saw them surrender third place in the league to Atletico Madrid.
“This situation is something that is getting resolved now, not earlier because we had a lot to play for. We can now talk about (Argentina)... because we achieved our objectives, but it’s not in my hands,” Sampaoli said.
“If they don’t sort things out then I won’t be going anywhere. I’m not leaving them for another club.” — Reuters