Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni cited Lionel Messi as an example to support his argument that modern football tactics are negatively impacting the essence of the game.
According to Scaloni, the increasing influence of tactics and analysis is causing a loss of spontaneity, and he highlighted Messi as an instance where allowing players to excel individually is crucial.
Speaking to Marca, he slammed the overuse of modern day football tactics. “Of course, there are no dribblers. There are no dribblers because as soon as they receive the ball you say ‘Pass it!’. Imagine if Messi when he was eight years old had been told all the time ‘Pass it!’ by his coaches, we wouldn’t have him today.
“It’s impressive. Because football has become such a big thing, everyone reads, studies, and thinks that with that they can manage. You tell a child of 7 or 8 years old to make the diagonal, to cover…. He’s seven years old! Let him play ball, let him make mistakes, and when he’s 14 or 15 we’ll start correcting him. It’s a message for the future. This is a sport and the beauty of football should not be lost.”
Scaloni urges managers to treat players like Messi differently
Scaloni further clarified that, especially for younger players, prioritizing enjoyment and having fun in the game is more crucial than emphasizing tactics like tracking runners.
He added: “The clear example is with the kids. When they are 12 or 13 years old they have to play ball and have fun, and not be so much on top of them correcting them, because you take away their essence and so we will see less and less players with that carefree attitude that we used to see before.”
Argentina has not played a match since their 1-0 victory against Brazil in November. The team is set to participate in the upcoming Copa America tournament this summer, kicking off their campaign with a match against Chile in Group A. Messi and his fellow teammates will be determined to defend their title, having clinched the trophy in 2021.