Lionel Messi and new Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli will need to luck on their side to win the World Cup, according to Brazil great Pele.
Messi and La Albiceleste fell at the last hurdle in their quest to emulate Argentina’s achievements of 1978 and 1986, losing the 2014 final to Germany in extra time in Rio de Janeiro.
Their place at the tournament in Russia next year is by no means guaranteed – Argentina occupy fifth, the inter-confederation play-off berth, in the CONMEBOL qualifying group.
In seeking to secure safe passage to the finals, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) succeeded in luring Sampaoli away from Sevilla after just one season to replace Edgardo Bauza as national team coach.
And despite his 2015 Copa America success with Chile, the new man in charge will still have to rely on good fortune to triumph on the big stage, according to Brazil’s three-time World Cup winner.
“You know, he is a great coach, no doubt, he has vision,” Pele said of Sampaoli.
“Argentina always has a good team. I think being coach – that’s the reason why I’d never be a coach – because you need luck. Sometimes you have the best team with the good players and then you don’t win the World Cup.”
As for whether or not Messi needs to win the World Cup to confirm his status as one of the game’s greatest ever players, Pele feels chance will also play a role.
“[It] depends, I think this is a little bit like luck, at the same moment [as needing to win a World Cup],” he said.
“To me he is a great player, as a midfield forward, to me, he’s the best.”
Argentina defeated Brazil 1-0 in a friendly in Melbourne in Sampaoli’s first match in charge earlier this month, followed by a 6-0 thrashing of Singapore.
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