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Messi and co to seek refuge in Marbella before the World Cup

The installations at the Marbella Football Center.
The installations at the Marbella Football Center. / Josele-Lanza
  • Head coach Jorge Sampaoli knows the Marbella Football Centre well and is keen to avoid tiring out his Europe-based players

Following their traumatic qualification campaign in which their participation in the World Cup hung in the balance right until the last moment, Lionel Messi and his teammates will be looking for some tranquility in the build-up to the main event this summer. For this reason, the eyes of the Argentinian football federation are fixed on Marbella.

The national team would like a base within Europe, where the majority of the players are located and where they will contest the majority of their warm-up friendlies.

At the express request of head coach Jorge Sampaoli, the Asociación del Fútbol Argentino (AFA) is in negotiations with the Marbella Football Centre, located between Marbella and Benahavís, to make it their base.

There is a lot of secrecy surrounding the negotiations, with the complex unwilling to comment on the situation. Journalists in Argentina, however, with connections to the federation, are convinced that a deal is a given.

The complex meets the requirements set out by AFA, namely privacy for the players, many of whom are high-profile names in the sport - led by five-time Ballor d'Or winner Lionel Messi.

Avoiding underperforming

Sampaoli, who managed La Liga side Sevilla before taking over the national team, is no stranger to the Marbella Football Centre, bringing his side there on a number of occasions. Bringing the Argentina national team here is one of the requests that the federation is willing to consider, his hand strengthened by the strong end to the qualifying campaign.

Not only does he want to avoid tiring his Europe-based players out with unnecessary travel, he also wanted to avoid the suffocating atmosphere of his home country which he believes contributed to the side underperforming at previous World Cups.