Messi & Mascherano never influenced Icardi's Argentina snubs – Bauza

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It has been suggested that selection calls were driven by senior stars, but the ex-Albiceleste coach insists that is not why Inter star was overlooked

Edgardo Bauza has played down any suggestion that Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano had a say in Argentina selection calls.

Having been relieved of his duties with the South American nation struggling to secure their place at the 2018 World Cup, the former Albiceleste coach has been reflecting on his reign.

It has been rumoured that senior figures held too much influence inside the camp, with Inter striker Mauro Icardi the unfortunate victim of a campaign against him.

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Bauza, though, insists that was never the case, with the 24-year-old always in his thoughts and available if required.

He told reporters following his dismissal: “Neither Mascherano nor Messi nor anyone else has ever influenced my call-ups or line-ups. Never.

“In the eight months I guided the Seleccion, no player ever created problems, I’m grateful to each of them.

Mauro Icardi Inter

“I met Icardi and he knew that I could call him at any time. No-one ever told me anything about him or others.”

Bauza has also responded to claims from Argentine legend Diego Maradona that Icardi is a “traitor” to his country after becoming caught up in a much-publicised divorce between fellow countryman Maxi Lopez and Wanda Nara.

The same accusations were levelled at the former national team coach for having met with the Inter captain, with an iconic 1986 World Cup winner clearly not a fan.

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Bauza added: “Diego has the right to say whatever he wants, given the position he occupies in Argentinian football. One day we’ll meet, we’ll have a chat and talk about it.

“There was never any player who had a problem with Icardi.”

Argentina currently sit fifth in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying section and will be forced to take in their next three fixtures without the services of talismanic skipper Messi.