Friday, 07 December 2012 23:51
Jorge Sampaoli meets with Chilean stars in Europe to reopen door to national team.
Fresh from being named the new manager of Chile’s national soccer team Monday, Jorge Sampaoli concluded the first leg of his European tour Friday meeting with the team’s Europe-based players. Sampaoli has looked to follow up on his promise that “all doors will be open” to the players that wish to represent their country at the highest level.
Sampaoli first met with Chile’s current captain and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, who plays for Real Sociedad in Spain while President of Chile’s National Association of Professional Soccer (ANFP) Sergio Jadue met with midfielder David Pizarro, who has been in Chile following the death of his sister Wednesday.
Speculation has surrounded the goalkeeping position for Chile since Sampaoli was announced as Chile’s new manager as he managed goalkeeper Johnny Herrera at his former employer Universidad de Chile.
Bravo, however, remained coy on the subject of Herrera and instead praised the new manager.
“I’m grateful that he (Sampaoli) came all this way to talk. It was a good conversation,” Bravo told Radio Bío Bío. “We talked a lot about what can happen in the national team, what he wants and what will happen in the future.”
Sampaoli visited Alexis Sánchez and his manager Tito Villanova in Barcelona Thursday before meeting Gary Medel of Sevilla and Fabián Orellana of Granada Friday to finish his time in Spain.
After Spain, Sampaoli continues his European tour in Italy, meeting with players such as Arturo Vidal of Juventus and Matías Fernández of Fiorentina. His last stop on the continent will be the U.K., where he will talk with Manchester United’s Ángelo Henríquez, who left Sampaoli’s former club U de Chile in reportedly contentious circumstances midway through the Clausura season.
Sampaoli will then travel to Brazil where he will speak with Palmeiras playmaker Jorge Valdivia. Valdivia found himself out of favour under former manager Claudio Borghi and with La Roja struggling to create in the midfield his return could prove timely for Chile’s World Cup Qualification aspirations.
By Tom Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Copyright 2012 - The Santiago Times