Lionel Messi has etched his name as the GOAT after winning the coveted championship title at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar on 18 December 2022. Meanwhile, another Lionel gets equal credit, if not more, for bringing the cup home after a long wait of 36 years. That is Lionel Scaloni, the manager of the Argentina national team whose net worth may not be as high as that of Messi but has certainly proved his money’s worth.
Lionel Scaloni was not as big a name in the managerial circles as the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner Didier Deschamps of France or the maverick Louis van Gaal of the Netherlands. In fact, Scaloni never actually had any senior career experience as a full-time manager before he was named to guide the Argentina national team in 2018 by the Argentine Football Association (AFA).
But Scaloni proved to be just the right man for the Argentine side, which had no dearth of talent but was long facing the problem of not having someone at the helm to bring that talent pool together.
Interesting facts about Lionel Scaloni
Played in La Liga, Premier League and Serie A
Now a FIFA World Cup winner at the age of 44, Scaloni was himself a gifted footballer. As a defender, he usually played as a right-back. He started his senior career as a player with Newell’s Old Boys, the famous Argentine club whose youth division has produced some of the greatest Argentine players of all time, including Lionel Messi and Gabriel Batistuta.
For much of his career, Scaloni played with Deportivo La Coruña in Spain. The team was then part of La Liga. The defender made 275 appearances for the club in all competitions from 1998 to 2006 and scored 18 goals.
He briefly moved to the Premier League club West Ham United on loan from Deportivo La Coruña before he was sold to the Spanish club Racing Santander.
Italian Serie A club Lazio was Scaloni’s next stop. From 2007 to 2013, he played 67 matches for the side, the second-highest for any club in his career. He was also briefly transferred to RCD Mallorca on loan from Lazio, which saw Scaloni return to Spain.
Serie A side Atalanta was Scaloni’s last club as a player. He retired from the sport in 2015 after playing 17 games for the club.
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Managerial career with the national side
Scaloni’s managerial career began at the club level with La Liga team Sevilla FC in June 2016. He was appointed as an assistant manager under Jorge Sampaoli. He played in 15 games after which Sampaoli was named the head of the Argentina national team in June 2017.
Scaloni, too, moved out of Sevilla FC with Sampaoli to join the national side as the latter’s assistant manager. He got his first full-time managerial role as the coach of the Argentina U-20 team in July 2018.
Less than 15 days after his appointment, on 2 August 2018, Scaloni was named the manager of the senior national side. This decision was taken after Argentina’s defeat in the 2018 FIFA World Cup held in Russia.
However, the decision to hand over the reins of the team to Scaloni was met with criticism. Not everyone was convinced that a coach, with no experience in managing a team ever before, should be given such a responsibility. But he would go on to prove everyone wrong in the next few years.
Messi, however, was convinced that Scaloni was the right man for the job.
“He has things clear in his head…is very good at getting things across, easy to understand and knows how to handle players,” Messi told FIFA in September 2019 when Scaloni’s job was made permanent.
Lionel Scaloni now has the @Argentina job on a permanent basis.
— FIFA (@FIFAcom) September 25, 2019
Achievements as a player and coach
Scaloni won the La Liga title, Spanish Cup and two Spanish Super Cup championships with Deportivo La Coruña. He has not won any other title with any other club in his career.
He was also part of the Argentina national team which won the U-20 World Cup in 1997. As a senior player, Scaloni appeared in only seven matches for the national team.
Scaloni’s first major success as a manager came when he guided Lionel Messi-led Argentina to the 2021 Copa América title.
It was Argentina’s first major title in 28 years and was a matter of great celebration throughout the country. The win is also considered one of the greatest achievements of Lionel Messi in his career for Argentina.
Owing to the win, Scaloni was one of the nominees for The Best FIFA Football Coach Award in 2021. However, he could not win it.
Under Scaloni’s strategic guidance and Messi’s tactical depth on the field, Argentina won the 2022 Finalissima by beating Italy 3–0 at Wembley Stadium in London. It was a back-to-back success for the national side, one that made Argentina a favourite for the 2022 FIFA World Cup title.
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Argentina opened its World Cup campaign with a defeat against Saudi Arabia. Scaloni quickly fixed the gaps in his team, and Argentina defeated all of its next five opponents — Mexico, Poland, Australia, the Netherlands and Croatia — to set a date for the final with defending champions France.
Eventually, Argentina created history with Scaloni and Messi in a nail-biter of a final match by defeating France 4-2 on penalties. During the match, Messi scored two goals while Ángel Di María got one.
Scaloni has now led Argentina as a manager in 57 matches, winning 40 and losing just five. This converts to an outstanding 70 percent success rate for the team.
Net worth of Lionel Scaloni and his market value as a player
Although he certainly shares the World Cup glory with the other Lionel, he is not as wealthy as Messi.
Lionel Scaloni’s net worth, as per Celebrity Net Worth, is USD 1,000,000. Of this, 80 percent comes from his salary — USD 800,000. The figure translates to around USD 66,666.67 per month or USD 15,384.62 per week.
The composition of the rest of his net worth, which comes to USD 200,000, is not clear.
Scaloni’s highest market value as a player, as per Transfermarkt, was just over USD 7 million when he was given on loan to West Ham United from Deportivo La Coruña in January 2006.
(Main image: Richard Sellers/Getty Images; Featured image: FIFA World Cup/@FIFAWorldCup/Twitter)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: Estimates suggest that Lionel Scaloni earns USD 800,000 per year as the manager of Argentina national team.
Answer: The total net worth of Lionel Scaloni comes to around USD 1 million. Of this, around 80 percent comes from his salary.