Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli has defended his decision to omit Inter striker Mauro Icardi from his 23-man World Cup squad for Russia this summer, citing he wants individuals who ‘i
“The players I called up identify with our style of play as closely as possible. For example: I chose Ansaldi because he’s a full-back who can play on both sides.”
Two-time World champions Argentina struggled to qualify for this summer’s tournament since the former Chilean national team coach took over after leaving Sevilla in May of last year.
His transition into the Argentina set-up, however, has been far from seamless. It took a Lionel Messi hat-trick against Ecuador in their final qualifying game to scrape through, after Sampaoli elected to omit the likes of Paulo Dybala from the starting XI to accommodate his plans – to their detriment.
The Chilean’s decisions have thusly come under fire and his latest one has and will likely leave many scratching their heads.
Icardi finished joint-top scorer this term in Serie A with Lazio forward Ciro Immobile, as both finished the campaign on 29 goals. In three of his last four seasons, the 25-year-old from Rosario has scored 20-plus goal for the Nerazzurri.