Txiki: Barça-Argentina Deal Should Stay Intact

Barcelona technical director Txiki Begiristain is confident that Maradona’s appointment as the new head coach of Argentina should not affect the deal he struck up with the AFA regarding Lionel Messi.

Earlier in the month, Begiristain travelled to Argentina to organise a pact with the Argentine Football Association (AFA) wherein Lionel Messi will be exempt from international friendly games for the rest of this year.

Following the appointment of Diego Maradona as Los Albicelestes’ new coach, though, Txiki was questioned by reporters as to whether the deal would still stand, as it was Alfio Basile who was in charge of the squad at the time.

“The president of the AFA (Julio Grondona) has authority over the national selector,” explained the Blaugrana technical director. In fact, he is the one who we had the agreement with, so, in theory, there should not be any problems regarding this matter.”

Maradona has been overly critical of his heir apparent, Messi, in recent times, by accusing him of being too selfish. Txiki, however, does not believe that a problem will arise between the pair when they have to work together.

“The two of them must have a good working relationship because Leo is a fundamental player to any team. I trust that they will do just fine,” he assured.

Argentina will take on Scotland in a friendly on the 19th of November, with Messi already pre-agreed to be excluded from the squad. It is also expected that Sergio Batista, the current Argentine U-23 coach, will take charge of that match as Maradona will only assume control from next year onwards.

KS Leong