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Sampaoli unhappy at Sevilla’s Argentina rebuke

Madrid (AFP) – Jorge Sampaoli reacted angrily on Friday to Sevilla’s decision to threaten the Argentine Football Association (AFA) with legal action over AFA’s interest in hiring the Sevilla coach to rescue their floundering World Cup qualifying campaign.

Sevilla issued a statement on Wednesday describing comments from new AFA president Claudio Tapia over his intentions to meet Sampaoli over the vacant coach’s role as “unacceptable” and “a lack of respect.”

Tapia later backtracked saying he would be flying to Spain only to meet with Barcelona star and Argentina captain Lionel Messi.

“The statement has more to do with speculation than facts,” said Sampaoli.

“If you ask me if I have said yes (to AFA) then I would be saying that I am the Argentina coach and that isn’t the truth.”

Argentina are looking for a new coach after Edgardo Bauza was sacked on Monday.

Sampaoli is under contract at Sevilla until 2018, but his future is far from certain after the departure of the club’s sporting director Monchi.

The 57-year-old has had an impressive debut season in Europe with Sevilla sitting fourth in La Liga.

However, despite being one of the leading candidates, he is expected to miss out on the Barcelona job when Luis Enrique steps down at the end of the season.

“I have already been Barcelona, PSG, Arsenal, Holland coach,” Sampaoli added sarcastically.

“My name is being played with a lot in speculation and that bothers me.

“If the club had to issue a statement every time I am linked with a job, there would be one every week.”

Argentina sit fifth in South American World Cup qualifying with just four games to go.

Only the top four qualify automatically for the tournament in Russia next year with fifth-place earning a playoff against the winners of the Oceania region.

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