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Mar 19, 2014

Simeone harbours Argentina ambition

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone says he would like to coach Argentina, but only after gaining plenty more experience at club level.

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Since taking charge of Atletico in 2011, Simeone has won the Europa League and Copa del Rey and is currently in contention for both La Liga and the Champions League.

The former Argentina captain told TyC Sports that he could see himself leading his home country but would like to follow the lead of Luis Aragones and Vicente del Bosque, who enjoyed success in charge of Spain late in their careers.

“Without doubt that is an objective that you imagine in your career, which I also hope to be a long one, but at the moment I see myself as a coach on the training ground,” Simeone said. “The national team is different.

“The best coaches, Luis Aragones and Del Bosque, have been at their best with their national teams during a mature stage in their career. They are more selectors and they put together groups. I feel very alive, the objective is there, and I hope it can happen in a moment when we are both at our best.”

Meanwhile, Argentina’s current captain, Lionel Messi, has told TyC Sports that the team is progressing well ahead of this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

“We are getting closer all the time,” Messi said. “There are fewer tests left to go. Time is passing quickly. Now we are playing for the most important thing, the finals. We have a good team, we have a chance, but the World Cup is difficult as anything can happen. We are still lacking some things, but we are close to a really high level.”

The Barcelona star said he had dreamed of winning the trophy and saw that as a real possibility.

“These are dreams, thoughts -- I hope they come true,” he said. “We are preparing to arrive in the best way. The group is at the right moment to do something important.”

Messi said it was an advantage to have such a united squad under current coach Alejandro Sabella, with players including himself, Manchester City pair Pablo Zabaleta and Sergio Aguero, Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay and Boca Juniors midfielder Fernando Gago all knowing each other since they won the FIFA World Youth Championship together in 2005.

“There’s unity and good relationships between us,” Messi said. “We have known each other for a long time -- we have played together since under-20s.”

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