Mascherano angrily denies Argentina player revolt against under-fire coach Sampaoli

The Albicleste camp has been thrown into chaos by repeated reports and leaked audios suggesting Sampaoli has been overthrown by his team

Javier Mascherano has rubbished rumours that the Argentina squad had moved to depose coach Jorge Sampaoli from his position ahead of a crucial World Cup match. 

The Albiceleste camp has been abuzz with reports suggesting a 'coup d'etat' against the under-fire boss, who has seen his team pick up just one point from six so far in Russia

According to the reports, Sampaoli would be left in nominal charge but stripped of all tactical and selection decisions, with the squad in charge of picking the starting line-up against Nigeria

Mascherano, however, insists there is no truth in stories he slammed as a "myth". 

"Ask all the coaches who picks the team. There have been seven, eight coaches and nothing has ever been said," the former Barca man fired, while trashing the oft-repeated theory that a dressing room clique including himself and Lionel Messi is the real power behind the Albiceleste. 

"That tag has been placed on our generation, who knows why, but this is repetitive: one person says, another says it and the snowball doesn't stop rolling."

Mascherano continued by redoubling the team's commitment to Sampaoli, while stating that it is a virtue of the coach to consult players on possible strategies. 

"There is a lot of myth in all of this. The best coaches in the world also ask for players' opinions, because the players are the ones who make the decisions on the field," he added. 

"The coach doesn't have to agree, he just wants to know how you feel on the pitch. It is not about imposing any opinions, but rather coming to a collective agreement over what feels best for the team." 

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Part of the uproar in the Argentina team has been down to the leaking of WhatsApp audios hinting at such scenarios as the ousting of Sampaoli or, as reported earlier in the week, that Mascherano and Cristian Pavon had come to blows in the Albiceleste dressing room. 

Mascherano went as far as to suggest that the team and coaches' phones could be tapped while insisting the endless speculation would not affect him. 

"I cannot stop a guy from sending an audio, I don't know if it's on purpose, or if the phones are bugged, I don't know what to believe in now," he admitted. 

"I don't even want to think about it, I believe in the 22 other guys here with me who I know and nothing else. Let everybody take care of their things, I am here to say that we are not playing well. 

"I haven't been in any videos or audios, whoever says that, it is up to them, I won't answer for anybody else."