The Argentina Football Federation announced on Monday that Edgardo Bauza has been appointed as new national team manager. After missing out on Diego Simeone, Jorge Sampaoli, Mauricio Pocchettino and Marcelo Bielsa, AFA went with the least popular, only available option.
Bauza was the manager of São Paulo in Brazil, and has been called to save Argentina's football situation in the middle of a complete administrative caos. The 58-year-old was the last choice for the board, but the best Argentinean coaches did not want the job. Bauza hopes to improve Argentina's performance in the South American Qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, while trying to pick up the pieces after another loss in a major tournament final.
To make things worse for Bauza, he doesn't have the best player in the world as the centerpiece of his side. After announcing his retirement from the national team following the Copa América loss against Chile last month, Lionel Messi has been rumored to be changing his mind and could be looking to return soon.
However, according to a report from top Argentinean sports magazine El Gráfico, the Barcelona superstar does not plan to come back to the team after learning about Bauza's appointment. Messi doesn't have something against Bauza, but Leo sees the decision as a reflection of AFA's problems in management.
El Gráfico's report says that Messi will not return unless AFA works out its problems and starts to invest heavily in the development of young players in the national team. It is hard to see Bauza being the leading man in a complete overhaul of Argentine football, so Messi coming back is not happening anytime soon.
Bauza is planning to travel to Spain in the coming weeks to meet with Messi in hopes of changing his main star's mind, but that doesn't look likely at the moment.
Good luck, Argentina.