Many believe that Scaloni's last game in charge of Argentina was the Maracana match against Brazil on 22 November. The coach himself shook the Albiceleste foundations when he said: "I have a lot of things to think about during this time. These players gave us a lot. I need to think a lot about what I want to do. It's not goodbye or anything else. Argentina needs a coach with the necessary energy and who is well. I will talk to the players and the directors".
All this was a bombshell that silenced the victory over Brazil and even the incidents prior to that match, with fans clashing and Messi withdrawing his team-mates to avoid playing the game. Scaloni stands and behind it all stands the well-placed shadow of Javier Milei, Argentina's brand new president who is leading the South American country into uncharted political waters.
Money is the coach's main reason for not renewing his contract. Apart from the love of the colours that all Argentinians have for their flag, making the leap to Europe and taking advantage of the world star to sign a good contract is something that Claudio Tapia, president of the Argentine Football Association, will never be able to offer him.
Added to that, Tapia himself sided with the losing candidate, Sergio Massa, something that angered Scaloni and the players who have always wanted to stay out of politics. Not even when they won the World Cup in Qatar did they go to the Casa Rosada to share their triumph with the authorities because of the lack of confidence the people have in them and, incidentally, to avoid being associated with a political sign.
But Milei's triumph upset Argentina's sporting plans. A response on a television programme even before Argentina lifted the World Cup set off alarm bells once he was proclaimed president. Milei said of football: "I like the English model, limited companies, clubs that are listed on the stock exchange. Boca could be bought by Arab capital or River by French capital. What the fuck do you care who owns the club if you beat River 5-0 and become world champion? Or do you prefer to continue in this misery, in this football of poorer quality? How do we fare every time we leave Argentina?".
At this point, the head of Argentina prefers to get off the boat of his country's uncertain future and head for other destinations in Europe, probably leaving Tapia to deal with Milei's sporting ideas. Players come and go from the national team and Messi's weight could be diluted in the run-up to the next World Cup in 2026, leaving the current World Cup winners without leadership.
Milei has arrived with revolutionary ideas that he will have to put into practice, but that one of them is to change the model of Argentine football could cost him dearly due to the unusual attachment to the sport in the birthplace of Maradona.