The secrets of one of the most beloved men in the National Team: the future of Di María “in six months” and why Mascherano does not want to continue

Omar Souto remembers how he called Lionel Messi for that first call-up in 2004 for a youth from Argentina

since 1996 that Omar Souto works at the AFA and is currently the Argentine national team manager and he has hundreds of stories to tell because he lived up close to particular situations that involved figures from his youth days. He is a character very loved by the players and was key in the first call of Lionel Messi. His trust with the footballers led him to reveal when he would return angel di maria to Argentina, why Javier Mascherano does not want to continue in charge of the Sub 20 and unusual anecdotes with Alexander Garnacho.

Leo Messi had his baptism with the Albiceleste in a friendly with the Sub-20 in 2004 against Paraguay. The match was played on the Argentinos field. “Messi plays in the Argentine team because he wanted to. From Spain they tempted him from Barcelona to play for them. Hugo Tocalli (then DT of the Sub-20) knew him because Claudio Vivas (Marcelo Bielsa’s technical assistant) had brought him a video. Hugo asks Sorín (Juan Pablo) and Saviola (Javier) about ‘this kid from the Barcelona Inferior League’ and they didn’t answer him at all”, he recalled in an interview with TNT Sports.

“Tocalli thought they were putting a dog in him. We went to play the U20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates. We went out for a walk with Tocalli and a delegate from Valencia who was in Spain and said to him ‘Hugo, why didn’t you bring the Barcelona player? It’s so much more than all the ones you have here,’” he added.

Omar Souto reveals the talk he had with Di María before the final with France

“We went back to Buenos Aires and I forgot about Messi, about everyone. Hugo comes to practice and he tells me ‘we have to bring the Barcelona player, Messi. I had to track him down and they told me he was at Newell’s, I called there and nothing. They told me that he had been in River, the same. I grabbed and went to a booth in Monte Grande and took out the Messi directory sheet. I started calling and in one of the calls I spoke to the grandmother and she gives me the uncle’s number. When I talk to the uncle, she gives me the father’s number. I call and speak with Jorge and ask for ‘Leonardo Messi’, because they told me they called him Leo. The father clarifies the name and tells me ‘They finally called, because my son wants to play for the Argentine team‘. There Julio Grondona and Hugo put together the game in Argentinos Juniors and in Uruguay. He played both games and from there he was in the National Team ”, he assured.

On the other hand, he revealed a talk he had with Di María before the Qatar 2022 World Cup final. “He told me that if we won we would retire together, but now he continues and so do I.” Regarding the celebration at the consecration, she recounted that “the joy of those boys was immense, they did not know how to show it. In the locker room they celebrated with a lot of education”.

While he confessed something that excites all the fans of the Canalla. “Di María is going to come to play Central in the middle of the year. I say this because I see how he thinks, the affection he has with the family and in Rosario he is fine.

Omar Souto confesses that Ángel Di María will play Rosario Central again this year

On whether Messi can also return, he was blunt: “El Diez cannot come to play in Argentina. How does he do? If he can’t get out the door here. I lived with Maradona when he was coach. We went to Mar del Plata and stayed at the Hotel Provincial. Diego left the next day at three in the afternoon to go to training. It was ten at night and there were two thousand people. You told them that he wouldn’t leave until tomorrow at three in the afternoon and at the time there were three thousand people”.

One of the youth players with the greatest projection is Garnacho, born in Spain, the son of an Argentinean and who at 18 is a starter at Manchester United. The boy chose to play for the Albiceleste and Souto told the unusual story behind his first call-up to the senior team. “They asked him to play against Venezuela (for Qualifiers) and they had to get his passport. He came with a minor permit that I don’t know how they did to get him out of England. Do you know what that was? Poorly written, everything. We went to the airport where they will make your passport in an hour and they told us ‘this doesn’t work’.

“I told him ‘this should have been done differently, your old man should have done it better’, and he looked at me. He asks me, ‘why my old man? My mom and dad are eating pizza on Corrientes street. They came to visit. I called his father and told him ‘stop eating because we have to do the passport urgently,’” he added.

“They taught him to drink mate and everything went well. He is already adapted to the group. I think that the senior team will take him into account again with a view to the next World Cup ”, he concluded about the striker.

Omar Souto confesses that Javier Mascherano does not want to continue as DT of the Under-20 National Team and that he must prepare the team for the Pre-Olympic

Lastly, he spoke about the situation of Javier Mascherano in the Under-20 after the elimination in the first round of the South American in Colombia. “You have to convince him. he does not want to continue because he thinks it is a failure of him. You have to prepare the team for the Olympic Games, ”he confided.

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“If he wants to continue as a coach, he has to do it at the AFA because it is the place that gives you everything to work. You go to the clubs and everyone has problems. In the AFA there is no problem. If he wants to be, he has to continue. I ask him, if he was a champion, did we have to put him in the senior team? ”, He highlighted.

Omar Souto tells how Garnacho learned to drink mate and the problem with his passport

“You have to prepare the team for the Pre-Olympic. You have to talk to Scaloni if ​​he is going to direct it, I don’t know why she has the Copa América and the Qualifiers. This is a Sub-23 with three majors. They have to talk about all of this among themselves, ”she stressed.

“It would be a shame if (Mascherano) left. It’s a shame because he knows a lot and he thinks that’s why he failed. There were a lot of impediments. The Under-17s have been working every day for a month until March 30, when the South American begins, ”he pointed out.

“But football is like that, if the ball goes in, fine, if not, you’re a disaster. You have to keep working and keep giving it ”, he concluded.

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