Spain already know their team- Sampaoli seeks Argentina certainty
27 March, 2018, 17:47
Spain coach Julen Lopetegui says his team's friendly against Argentina is "a lovely fixture" made all the more appealing by the likely involvement of Lionel Messi. Messi did not play last Friday before Italy in English soil, and only Sunday, he could train again with his teammates.
"Against Ecuador I was a bit strong in my tone suggesting that football owed Messi a World Cup, however I knew he was going to appear for us at the vital moments".
"He's untouchable, you need to understand that and try to create situations in training that fit around him and from there pick a side with a view to that", Sampaoli told a news conference on Monday. We have a debt with ourselves (the players). Speaking ahead of Spain's encounter against 2014 World Cup finalist, David de Gea feels it will be better if both teams feature a competitive line-up at Wanda Metropolitano. "We never, at any point, think about risking him".
Sampaoli insisted he was not gambling over his captain's fitness by fielding Messi against Spain.
However, the two-time World Cup winners will be without Angel di Maria, who hurt his thigh against Italy, and Sergio Aguero, with the Manchester City striker recovering from a knee injury. "But he has trained the last two days", he added.
"Leo has to play like he does for his club, to put him into another structure is madness".
At Juventus he plays just like me, we look for the same spaces.
"When we're preparing for a game we're not thinking about what's in front of us", Lopetegui said.
But Spain and Argentina fans hoping for a glimpse of him will be disappointed at the match in Madrid tonight.
Lopetegui has to decide whether to use Tuesday to give game time to players who didn't figure in Germany and that could see Marcos Alonso given a chance to make his debut at left back, while Lucas Vazquez and Iago Aspas could also give some real pace to the Spain attack.
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