Paulo Dybala - Argentina

'We couldn't improve his performances' - Sampaoli suggests Dybala & Icardi could miss World Cup

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli has admitted he is considering leaving Paulo Dybala and Mauro Icardi at home for the 2018 World Cup. 

Both Dybala and Icardi have featured for Sampaoli in his first year at the Albiceleste helm, although with underwhelming results as Argentina scraped into Russia. 

The Serie A pair were subsequently left out of March's friendly double-header against Italy and Spain, with Boca Juniors' Cristian Pavon and Racing Club striker Lautaro Martinez receiving the nod. 

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And speaking prior to Friday's Italy meeting, Sampaoli recognised that they may not make his final list of 23 players for Russia. 

"It will be hard for Dybala to get used to our style," the coach told reporters in Manchester on Thursday.

"We couldn't improve his performances and we have to evaluate if the current players are better than Paulo or if we've to keep working with Paulo to improve his performance".

Icardi, meanwhile, is still seeking his first goal for the national team and Sampaoli admitted that he was frustrated by his inability to replicate his Inter form with Argentina.

"Icardi's situation is similar to Dybala's. The comparison between Icardi's performances at Inter and with Argentina is not the best," he added.

"I realised that and felt we have to work on it harder. But we don't have enough time. Maybe his adaptation time will not be a short one. I won't rule him out, but as Argentina's coach I have to priorise our partnerships on the pitch."

The former Chile boss also referred to his captain, while stating his confidence that Argentina can break a 32-year drought and lift their first World Cup since 1986.

"If [Lionel Messi] is ok, Argentina will be his team. It is much more his team than it is mine," Sampaoli stated.
"I think that Argentina are favourites in the World Cup."