Sampaoli: Argentina need to be more like Barcelona for Messi
Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli hopes he can develop his team to get as much from Lionel Messi as Barcelona do.
The 29-year-old star's performances for the national team have often been questioned in comparison to his stellar showings for the LaLiga giants.
Sampaoli, preparing for his first game in charge when Argentina face Brazil in Melbourne on Friday, said he wanted his side to create a similar connection as what Barca manage with Messi.
"I believe Messi has been playing collectively at Barcelona as part of a team and that's the type of synergy we want to create within the Argentina team," he told a news conference.
"We don't want him to be playing in an isolated manner, we want him to play collectively.
"That's what we're going to try to push for the team – to play collectively with Messi to get the best out of him."
[SELECCIÓN MAYOR] El plantel argentino trabajará hoy, desde las 16.30, en Melbourne Cricket Ground. La prensa podrá ver los 15' iniciales. pic.twitter.com/QUkPUH14O1
— Selección Argentina (@Argentina) June 8, 2017
Juventus star Paulo Dybala is among the players Sampaoli is likely to want to work more productively around Messi.
Sampaoli, who lauded Messi for leaving his vacation to play in the blockbuster at the MCG, said the friendly against Brazil gave him a chance to assess their partnership ahead of crucial World Cup qualifiers later in the year.
"There is an understanding that Messi and Dybala are very good players on their own accord," he said.
"These types of games, the friendly games, give us the opportunity to test their compatibility and know whether they can work together, how effective that synergy will be.
"They are both great players and we've got great expectations for Dybala as well and Messi is the best player in the world.
"It'll just be about seeing their connection on the pitch."