CHENNAI: Lionel Messi and Co’s recent FIFA World Cup triumph had the power to unite the citizens of his “chaotic nation”, according to Chennai Blitz’s Argentine head coach Ruben Wolochin.
The Argentina men’s team ended a 36-year wait in December 2022 after it edged out France on penalties in an action-packed final in Doha. “We have a lot of problems every day. Argentina is a chaotic country. But, football brought absolutely everyone together,” said Ruben at a Prime Volleyball League Season 2 press conference here on Tuesday, adding that he anticipated a question on the football team’s success in Qatar 2022.
“There are a lot of political divisions. During the World Cup and the month after the World Cup, everyone was united. I always get goosebumps [when I talk about that]. You know… for our country… seeing Messi become a world champion was extraordinary. I could see the faces of people all over the world… how happy they were with Messi winning the world championship,” Ruben said when he was at his expressive best.
“The day when the team celebrated with the people on the streets [in Buenos Aires]… you could see the joy on the faces of the people. I have not seen such a thing for a long time in my country,” added Ruben, who enjoyed the World Cup title decider with his wife and children at his home in Argentina’s capital city.
Ruben also said that he is fortunate to have seen the Argentina men’s team lift three football World Cups. “I am one of a kind. I was eight when we won in 1978 and
I was 16 when we won in 1986. I am 52 now. While talking to my kids, I tell them I have this kind of luck.”
Unsurprisingly, Ruben is an avid football follower. “The other day (January 21), we were invited by Chennaiyin FC [for its home Indian Super League match against ATK Mohun Bagan in Chennai]. When I was coaching in Germany, I was able to watch matches of Bayern Munich and Stuttgart [at stadiums]. I had watched Argentina vs Brazil live when back home. It was many years ago,” said Ruben.
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