Argentina has its new coach. The national team has hired 58-year-old Argentine Edgardo Bauza, who has never coached on the national team level, on Monday night. The former defender has managed numerous big clubs in South America like Velez Sarsfield, LDU Quito, San Lorenzo and most recently Sao Paulo, but now takes charge of one of the most talented national teams in the world, one that has experienced defeat in cup finals each of the last three summers.
Bauza has had plenty of success at the club level, winning the Copa Libertadores with LDU Quito of Ecuador and San Lorenzo of Argentina. But his biggest task isn't about winning a game.
With World Cup qualifiers around the corner, his biggest challenge will be to convince superstar Lionel Messi to come back from international retirement. The 29-year-old attacker called it quits after Argentina's defeat to Chile in the 2016 Copa America final, where he missed a penalty kick in the shootout, choosing just to play for club Barcelona.
"It is not about convincing him or anything, just to chat about soccer. Those of us who were players know how frustrating it is to lose a final. I'll let him know my way of working."
Argentina next plays on Sept. 1 against Uruguay and Sept. 6 against Venezuela in World Cup Qualifiers, so there really isn't much time for Bauza to convince Messi if he hopes to have him back for the next FIFA date. There are also World Cup Qualifiers in October and November, and at this stage, it seems highly unlikely that we will see Messi play for Argentina at all in 2016. That is unless Bauza has what it takes to change Messi's mindset.