Sevilla’s Jorge Sampaoli says Argentina wants him as next coach

Jorge Sampaoli said Friday he would be unable to refuse an offer to coach Argentina’s national team as speculation mounts about an impending return to his homeland.

Overseas footballers included in the squad have been confirmed by the AFA, but local-based players are due to be added later. At the fifth spot in their World Cup qualifying group and, with just four matches left to play, Argentina are at risk of missing out on the Russian Federation meet. Coaching Argentina is a dream I have since I was a child. “It’s an opportunity that I turned down when I took over at Sevilla in pre-season, but is still there”, Sampaoli said at a news conference, as posted in Sevilla’s website.

But he said: “No one is going to take Sevilla’s last game away from me”.

Asked about compatriot Eduardo Berizzo, the Celta Vigo coach considered the leading candidate to replace him, Sampaoli said: “I have great respect for him, but it’s not up to me to say who the ideal candidate for Sevilla would be”.

Sampaoli has previous experience in worldwide football having steered Chile to the 2015 Copa America title, beating Argentina in the final.

The 57-year-old is, of course, no stranger to worldwide football, having guided Chile to glory at the Copa America in 2015. Argentina lost a rematch with Chile in the Copa America final a year ago, after Sampaoli had left. Argentina also lost the 2014 World Cup final to Germany. “I feel I must go”. One chapter ends, another one begins that I wasn’t expecting.

Sampaoli had inspired Sevilla to an outside run at the Spanish league title with 13 wins in the first 19 matches. That will be done after this match against Osasuna, I want to be at [Sunday’s game] because we have won the league that we had to win behind the big three (Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid).

However, Sampaoli denied media reports that he had already named a national team squad for next month’s worldwide friendlies.