Jorge Sampaoli succeeds Edgardo Bauza as Argentina manager
Jorge Sampaoli has officially been named Argentina's new manager.
The former Sevilla boss, who signed a five-year contract with the Albiceleste, was presented on Thursday evening at the Argentina Football Association (AFA) headquarters in Ezeiza, Buenos Aires.
"This is a dream come true, one that I had desired for some time. I always admired this place," Sampaoli said at his unveiling. "I thank the [AFA] president [Claudio Tapia] for his patience.
"The contract is through to the 2022 World Cup. I hope we can do something important for Argentine people."
Argentina had been without a manager since they dismissed Edgardo Bauza on April 10 after eight months in charge. Sampaoli, who had long been expected to take over the vacant Argentina coaching position, was under contract with Sevilla for another season. However, the La Liga outfit confirmed on Thursday evening that his €1.5 million release clause had been paid.
Prior to taking the reins at Sevilla, Sampaoli was a great success as the head coach of Chile's national team, guiding the country to a Copa America title in 2015, beating Argentina in the final.
Argentina have reached three straight major tournament finals under their previous managers, beginning with the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but lost all three.
"We have to build a team that respects the history of Argentine football," the 57-year-old Sampaoli said. "There are more than 100 players being monitored. What we want is for those players that wear this jersey to expose the quality they have.
"I'm surrounded by very capable people. This national team is not of a group of players but of 40 million Argentines. We need to have a starring role."
Sampaoli takes over at a difficult time, with the two-time world champions fifth in their qualifying group for the 2018 World Cup.
Only the top four sides will qualify directly for the tournament that is to be staged in Russia, and he stressed the need for the national team to get there.
"The difficulty in the World Cup qualifiers is real," Sampaoli, whose first qualifier will be at Uruguay on Aug. 31, said. "We know that there are resources for Argentina to reach the World Cup.
"The qualifiers are complex and there are other teams like us that are trying to reach the same aim."
Sampaoli had previously stated his desire to coach five-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi, and aims to have the Barcelona star at his best for his country.
"We want for the best player in the world to be happy being here," Sampaoli said. "The important thing is that Messi has players that are compatible [with him]. I spoke to him yesterday [Wednesday] and he is very enthusiastic."
AFA president Tapia, meanwhile, said the wait for Sampaoli after months of being linked with him was worth it.
He said: "This is a very important time for our football. I want to welcome Jorge Sampaoli."
Earlier on Thursday, Sevilla announced Sampaoli's departure with a club statement, saying: "Jorge Sampaoli is no longer contracted to Sevilla FC from this afternoon after the Nervion club, the Argentina Football Association [AFA] and Sampaoli signed the documents that guarantee Sevilla the payment of the fixed release clause of the Argentine tactician.
"Sevilla FC wishes Jorge Sampaoli luck and success in his new professional adventure and thanks him for the services done during the 2016-17 campaign."
Sampaoli was offered the Argentina job last August shortly after taking the helm of Sevilla but decided to remain in charge of the La Liga club.
Under Sampaoli, Sevilla finished fourth in La Liga this season and sealed a place in the Champions League qualifying stage for the 2017-18 campaign.
Sampaoli will travel to Melbourne on Friday morning to begin coaching the squad ahead of two international friendlies. Argentina face Brazil in Melbourne on June 9 and then will play at Singapore a week later.
Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.