Describe Sampaoli in three words: Ruthless, Fighter and a Winner.
Jorge Sampaoli emulates all those traits and more in every club team and national team he has managed.
Taking the reigns of Chile from the great man himself, Marcelo ‘El Loco’ Bielsa back in 2012, was the turning point in his career. Many say, and I agree, taking that ‘groomed’ team from Bielsa was a godsend for the Argentine coach.
Jorge was very honest in the way he took over from his fellow Argentine he kept the ambiance, style of play, formation and he tweaked it the only way he knew how with fire & desire.
Sampaoli in 2014 put Chile back on the international stage after stellar, bulldog like performances in his international debut at the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. He led Chile to the knock-out stage only eliminated by hosts Brazil in a penalty shootout. A result which overshadowed Chile’s performances.
Sampaoli showed the world how ruthless his side can be with energy, high-pressing, flexible formations and how to suffocate your opponent of time and space. He brought to life one of today’s best midfielder’s Arturo Vidal, bettered Alexis Sanchez, and so on with his XI. He had them playing like a group, for a group and for a greater cause.
He gave Chile life, he gave them a meaning, he gave them their maiden international trophy; the Copa America 2015, but more importantly he brought together a nation. Chile’s passion and fight on the field transcended in the stands. The crowd also believed, they to fought for 90 minutes, they were no longer shy or nervous against opponents like Brazil, Argentina or Uruguay. That’s one of the biggest legacies Jorge Sampaoli has left the Chile National Team and Chile.
The Argentine national team has always been a rocky job. In saying that, in 10 years they have had seven coaches the biggest names amongst them, Diego Maradona and Gerardo Martino (ex-Barcelona).
Today, they are without a coach. A few hours ago it was announced Edgardo Bauza was sacked. Argentina currently sit fifth in World Cup 2018 qualification standings (play-off zone) with tough fixtures ahead, however, time is on their side as the final stages of qualifying are in August.
The name which has been thrown around for quiet some time now and may be announced in the next few weeks is Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli.
A coup right? Now he has been vocal in saying if he were to coach Argentina it would only be until after Russia 2018 and not Qatar 2022…
He is in, however, a sticky situation holding the post for Sevilla and La Liga has not ended, he still has a year left on his contract at Seville making his exit awkward costing 1.5 million euros according to Marca.
Respect still holds true. He does, if possible, have to exit cordially.
Sampaoli does have a history of leaving his post early and in dramatic circumstances, remember Chile last year?
In saying that, when he leaves Seville he will have just over a month and a friendly against Brazil before the crunch WCQ2018 in August meaning a full strength side to visit Australia? (yay!)
As a Chilean who has single-handedly seen and felt what Sampaoli can do in little time and in the long-run will give hope to Argentinians, they know that from the 2015 Copa America Final, a strong side coached by Sampa.
They need a leader, they need tough love, they need life. He will give that and tenfold.
Most importantly, he will rid of egos which in South America is a task itself. There’s no lie who runs the Argentina NT. That will go and ready for personal changes not only on the pitch but also off.
These changes are not stark. They’re changes former coaches could not handle or were told not to do.
No one is above nor under him which is the best way but after taking on the Chile ANFP he has another hurdle of a strongly held AFA. Keep an eye on that relationship.
It’s no lie this is the perfect appointment for both parties now, it is only a matter of time as the AFA head over to Spain to ‘talk’ to Jorge Sampaoli this week.
Now we wait.