Argentina 1978 World Cup jero and Tottenham Hotspur legend Ossie Ardiles has launched a scathing attack on Albiceleste coach Jorge Sampaoli after his team’s humiliating 3-0 defeat to Croatia on Thursday.
The defeat to Croatia in their second Group D game of the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup, means Argentina no longer have their destiny in their own hands and could go out at the group stage for only the second time in 56 years.
They must now beat Nigeria in St Petersburg next Tuesday and hope Iceland fail to get anything against Croatia.
According to The Mirror, Ardiles,65, claimed the “prestige” hard won by past Argentinian sides over decades had been tossed away carelessly by Sampaoli’s players and the current administration.
He also insisted the team’s decline since the 2014 World Cup – when they finished runners-up – had been disguised by the “unrivalled genius” of Lionel Messi.
“From world champion to being the worst national team in Argentina history. Where to begin?” Ardiles began.
“Sampaoli: Dreadful. Finished his cycle insulting the Croatian players. Arrogant, ignorant. Even having the best player in the world was not capable of creating a competitive team. Never the same 11 during his tenure.
“Plan A of Sampaoli: Give the ball to Messi and wait for a miracle. If Plan A doesn’t work, Plan B. Errr. There is no plan B. Let alone plan C or D.
“Defensively: Make fouls. Wherever it is and regardless of the circumstances, or the consequences.”
On his views about the players, he said: “To be playing outside of Argentina does not mean they are elite players. Many of them were not even starters in their own teams.
“The prestige acquired over the years especially by the two world champion teams thrown overboard.
“Embarrassing also the “bullying” of our most experienced players: Mascherano, Otamendi. The incident with Rakitic. Please Otamendi: Apologise.”
Ardilles however absolved Lionel Messi – of any blame, insisting the five-time Balon D’Or winner could not solve the country’s problems by himself.
He added: “All the Argentinian decline of recent times was hidden by this unrivalled genius who we are lucky was born in Argentina. But even for him it was too much at the end of the day. Leo: Many thanks for everything. And good luck in your future.”