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Sergio: Predictions on Copa America & Euro 2024


Copa America


Dybala has been left out of the COPA America squad. Are you surprised by this decision from Scaloni?


I'm not aware of the current form of each player. The person who knows that best is Scaloni, and he's likely made that decision based on his judgement, and that's to be respected.

Paulo is well-loved by the team, and he'll surely be missed – but the squad has proven that the team goes above the individual. During the previous Copa America, during the World Cup, in every single game they've played... and that's why the decisions of Scaloni need to be analysed with this lens.


Argentina will play their final group match in Miami - do you now see Miami now as the home of soccer in the United States?


There's a big expat community in Miami of Argentineans, and many other Latin Americans who support our side. With Leo playing in the local Inter, that sentiment grows even more. But there are lot of Mexicans, Colombians, Venezuelans too. We can say that Miami is likely the place with the most people rooting for different teams of Copa America at least.


The World Cup comes to USA in 2026. Can you see Lionel Messi still playing for Argentina by then?


First, let's enjoy watching him play at Copa America. We'll be able to see him in action once more with Argentina's colors, they make him give it his all. It'll be nice to see him play for the national squad again. And the future... we'll tell then. I'd like to see him play forever, but Leo has won the right to decide when that will come to an end.


Argentina are the favorites to win the tournament - do you think that added pressure will affect the squad?


Argentina is always a candidate... but, pressure? I don't think so. I think we're used to this. Now, it's about preserving the style and team-concept we've developed. We won what we've won because of this. The players that were part of that process should pass it on to the newcomers. It's great that it happens naturally. The national squad is richer for all the new talent, and they'll keep growing because of this.


Despite injury issues this season, Lisandro Martinez has made the squad - how important do you think he is to Argentina’s success


Lisandro is part of this young generation of defenders that bring talent, energy and personality to the game. He's earned a spot in the squad, and also on United's. He was summoned because his role is key to the team – Lisandro represents the present and the future of the national squad.


Who would you have leading the line for Argentina in the opening fixture?


The technical staff will decide as much. We'll have to see the form of each player, and what's best for the team. One of the virtues of this squad is that they have a lot of variants to go with a very solid defensive line.


Who do you think will finish as the tournament’s top scorer?


Depends a lot on what happens during the final stages, the teams to get further give more chances for players to score. Of course, I hope it's Leo.


Euro 2024


Who is your player to watch at the Euros?


I think there's a good number of players who could have a major role. There's plenty of talent to go around, it'll be nice to see. Phil Foden, Musiala, Wirtz, Yamal, Doku, among others. Young players with a bright future ahead, we'll have to keep a close eye on them.


Erling Haaland’s Norway failed to qualify for the Euros. Do you think that having a full summer to recover will help him for the next Premier League season?


It's a shame not to see Haaland play this tournament. The rest will certainly suit him well, and he'll be fitter than ever for next season. Hope he sees the positives of the situation.


Who do you think will finish as the tournament’s top scorer?


What I said for Copa America applies here as well. The countries to get to late stages will surely be the home of the top scorer. I think Harry Kane and Mbappe should be kept on the radar though. They are major players who can make their scoring capabilities known in major matches.


It is likely that regardless of England’s success, this will be Gareth Southgate’s last tournament, with him linked to the Manchester United job. Could you see him being a successful Premier League manager?


I hadn't heard that before, so I'm not sure I've formed an opinion yet. But it's clear that any manager playing at that level can be well-set to play the club game. It's more about their personal preference though, because it's a different dynamic altogether. Some of them just really enjoy the national squad work.


Can you envision Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho taking the England job one day?


I don't think it's the most likely scenario, but hey, anything can happen in football.


EPL


Can Manchester City’s season be judged as a success, after winning just one trophy?


Absolutely. This was the most competitive Premier League in recent history, winning it is an enormous feat. The tooth-and-nail fight against Arsenal and Liverpool is a testament to how tough winning this tournament was.

There was a need to be extremely consistent, particularly in the last stretch. Man City had to win every match, and the contenders slipped here and there. That's the mark of a great team, and City proved to be one. Getting to the FA Cup Final was massive, and in the Champions League... Well, the face-off against Real Madrid could have been a final on its own. It was certainly a successful season for City.


How impressed were you with Manchester United in the FA Cup final?


They put all their chips on a single game, so that's why they played far back and waited for a chance they could capitalize. When it's a one-leg finals, anything can happen. They saw their opening and City couldn’t make the most of their own chances. They had a solid defence... sadly we could only tip the scoreboard too late in the match. So United got away with it.


Alejandro Garnacho got himself on the scoresheet in the FA Cup final. How important do you see him being to Argentina in this summer’s Copa America tournament?


Garnacho, at a very young age, was able to consolidate himself as part of Man United's main squad. You’ve got to respect that. His career is very promising for Argentina, providing a new option in the offence. If Argentina's team want to stay at the top, they need to be able to bring in top new talent.


There has been increased talk of Pep Guardiola leaving at the end of next season. Do you think his management style would suit international football?


If you are wondering whether he'd be a good manager for a national team, of course. Unsure if Pep is interested in that. I think he enjoys the daily management of club football and he wouldn't get that on a national team. But strictly talking about skill - he'd do a great job, I'm sure.


There has been talk of De Zerbi recently, but who would you like to see manage City after Pep leaves?


I think it's best to enjoy Pep while he's here, and we'll see about the future then. As long as Guardiola stays on the job, I don't think there's any need to discuss replacements.


Enzo Maresca has taken the reins at Chelsea, how much do you know about him from your time at City and is he a special coach?


He had a very interesting career after City. I know this will be a well-suited challenge for him. From our time at City, I know him to be well-prepared to lead Chelsea. The team has very high hopes.


Can Maresca get the best out of Enzo Fernandez at Chelsea?


Why not? A good manager is characterized for having the quality to drawing the talent out of players with potential. Enzo is a great player, and surely Maresca will be able to help him improve his game.


Cole Palmer has been magnificent for Chelsea, did you always know he was this good or have you been surprised at how well he has done?


I saw his talent first-hand so I'm not surprised. It was quite shocking to see how fast he adapted to a new team, it'd be really tough for others to do so as much. You can tell that this process went exceptionally well by the amount of goals and assists Cole had during his first season.


Champions League Final


The two favorites for the Ballon D’or now are Vinicius Jr and Jude Bellingham. Who do you think deserves the trophy on performances so far this year?


I think the award should be Vinicius'. He had a great season winning the La Liga title, and the Champions' League too, with a goal to go with it. Bellingham started out really well, towards the finals, after his injury, his performance waned a little. Vinicius became the main offensive weapon of a powerful Real Madrid. He's set to win it this year


Carlo Ancelotti has now won 5 Champions League titles as manager. Do you think he is the best manager of all time?


He's amazing without a doubt. He's done well in every one of the major world leagues. Carlo is laser-focused on the win, and he can manage teams with multiple all-star players. He's got a lot going for him.

But, as I've said before, it's tough to define "of-all-time," times change. Circumstances change. But he's one of the best for sure.


With Mbappe joining Madrid’s star-studded team, is it hard to see Barcelona challenging for La Liga next season?


It's clear that Mbappe joining Real Madrid will only make them stronger. They'll have of the most lethal offensive lines in any club in the world.

However, that doesn't mean other teams won't be able to compete. Championships are long, and every game is a world of its own. Barca is entering a new stage, with a brand new coach and great players. You've heard me name them before: Yamal, Pedri, Fermin, Cubarsi, Balde, Gavi... they have all the potential to fight fo the pole position. Barca is one of the great clubs and they'll keep fighting for titles.

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