Lionel Messi is not dictating Argentina’s team selection and tactics, manager Jorge Sampaoli said before Saturday’s World Cup tie with France.
Sampaoli reportedly asked Messi whether he should bring on Sergio Aguero in their eventual 2-1 victory over Nigeria in the decisive group game.
Video footage showed Sampaoli and Messi in pitch-side dialogue, before substitute Aguero was introduced.
However, Sampaoli said the conversation was “not how it was characterised”.
Speaking before the last-16 match in Kazan, he added: “We looked at different options in an important game and had to make a decision.
“I was simply communicating this, saying we were going to use a strategy we had rehearsed to use more attacking players.
“It was a simple exchange I had with one of my players, that is all.”