BAUZA recently spoke to the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport before the Inter vs Juventus derby. He commented on HIGUAIN and DYBALA, BANEGA, and ICARDI. He also spoke again about MESSI.
“The Derby d’Italia is a Clasico of world football and the context of the match will also affect the analysis of ‘our’ performances. I would’ve loved to be at San Siro, but I need to be in Peru right now.
“In a game like this, with so much history, every team gives its best and current form is somewhat neutralised by the importance of the fixture. Clearly despite many changes, Juventus are still the favourites, as from the midfield up they have players who can break the deadlock and are very solid at the back.
“Even if HIGUAIN isn’t yet in the astonishing form he had last season at Napoli, he is still doing well and can be decisive. He will give a great deal to Juve.
“I expect a hard-fought match and complex on a tactical level. Whoever scores first will have an enormous advantage, maybe even a decisive one.”
“When someone pays a price, it means he’s worth it, because nobody gives you anything for free,” continued BAUZA.
“HIGUAIN’s season for Napoli was extraordinary. Now he is in the process of adapting to his new club and teammates, but I am certain he’ll bear fruit with Juventus and give them what they’re looking for in Europe. It’s just a matter of time. The partnership with DYBALA has everything required to be very, very strong.
“Like every player in Argentina, HIGUAIN generates feelings of love and hate. There are those who criticize him for misses in the Finals, but others praise him for his effort and desire every time he wears the Seleccion shirt.
“For me, speaking as the Coach, he is a great striker and I have a lot of faith in him. He asked me not to be called up in September because he wanted to get back into his best shape and I respected that. Now he’s returning with us against Peru and Paraguay.”
“Paulo is an explosive player. A different player, superior to the norm. He’s extremely quick in the final third and has great goal-scoring abilities. In the last two years he has improved constantly.
“I am surprised by how he manages to make his mark despite being so small. You’d think a little fellow who weighed just over 60kg would struggle to make his mark in Italy, but on the contrary, he always finds the breakthrough. His 2016 has been sincerely exceptional.
“He is young and has margins for improvement, but that is his great strength, the fact he can get even better despite already reaching this great level. Will DYBALA find space in Argentina? Clearly, there’s no doubt.”
“BANEGA is a player who is already confirmed at the highest level, has great experience and nothing to prove,” the Seleccion Coach told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Speaking of BANEGA: “He has technique of the absolute top level, but at Inter plays in a different position to when he’s with us. With Argentina he moves further up the field, whereas at Inter I saw him close to the line of four defenders. I understand what the Coach is going for, because Ever has this great ability to move the team.
“Everyone has their own ideas and they are all to be respected, but personally I believe BANEGA works better in the opposition half in a trequartista role. Considering his quality, technique and vision, I prefer him 30 metres further up than his current role. If we want to simplify it with the old shirt numbers, he’s more of a 10 than a 5.”
In regards to ICARDI: “ICARDI is one of the group of 60 players we are watching,” replied BAUZA. “My great fortune, and the misfortune for Mauro, is that I have four or five men in that position of an excellent level.
“ICARDI is an explosive player, he finds the net easily and despite being only 23 is already the captain of Inter, which shows his strength of character. In any moment he could be called by the Seleccion.”
When questioned why ICARDI was not selected this time around: “No, because HIGUAIN and Sergio AGUERO were returning and I preferred to maintain ALARIO and PRATTO. Why hasn’t ICARDI been called since 2013? You’d have to ask my predecessor (Tata MARTINO). All I can say is that when we drew up the list of players suitable for selection, ICARDI’s name was on there with no problem.”
“Each of us has his problems,” continued Coach BAUZA. “I am only interested in the sporting aspect, in other words how ICARDI plays for Inter. He will only be judged on that and nothing else.
“There are no vetoes or negative opinions. All that counts is the football. The day he is called, he will have to adapt to our training regime, but that’s it.”
On MESSI: “There’s nothing complicated with MESSI, quite the contrary. Leo makes everything much simpler, both on and off the field. When I was assigned this job, I went to talk to him and I can assure you that it’s a pleasure to talk football with Leo. He is so knowledgeable.
“Now he is concentrated on the next objective: qualifying for the World Cup. People here love him so much and can’t wait to see him play for the Seleccion.
“MESSI is surrounded by enormous affection. Any other considerations are just silly.”