Lionel Messi pays tribute to Cesar Luis Menotti as legendary former Argentina & Barcelona manager dies aged 85

Lionel Messi has paid tribute to the legendary former Argentina and Barcelona manager Cesar Luis Menotti, who has died at the age of 85.

Cesar Luis Menotti

Menotti was in charge of the Argentine national side between 1974 and 1982 and led the team to their first ever World Cup crown on home soil in 1978. As a player, Menotti played for Rosario Central, Boca Juniors and Santos before turning his attention to coaching.

He managed Newell’s Old Boys, Huracan, Boca, River Plate, Independiente and Rosario in Argentina. He also spent time coaching in Mexico, Italy and Spain – taking in spells at Sampdoria, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid whilst in Europe. Menotti returned to the Argentine national team set-up as a director in 2019 and helped oversee wins in the 2021 Copa America and 2022 World Cup.

The Argentinian Football Association announced Menotti’s death on Sunday.

The Argentine Football Association (AFA) posted on X, saying: “The Argentine Football Association regrets to announce with great sadness the death of Cesar Luis Menotti, current director of the national teams and former World Cup winning coach of Argentina. Farewell, Flaco querido.”

Paying a special tribute to the former Argentina and Barcelona boss, Inter Miami superstar Messi posted on Instagram saying: “One of the great references of our football has left us. Condolences to his family and loved ones. RIP.”


Menotti handed a 16-year-old Diego Maradona his debut for the national team in 1977, but controversially left the Argentina icon out of his World Cup squad the following year. Maradona did play under Menotti at the next World Cup in Spain, but was sent off in Argentina’s second round defeat to Brazil.

The pair would reunite at Barcelona shortly after Menotti’s exit from the Argentina post in 1982, and lifted the Copa del Rey in their first season working together at club level.

Argentina will grieve the death of their former manager, who was instrumental in transforming La Albiceleste into one of the game’s most formidable international teams. During the Argentinian League Cup final between Velez Sarsfield and Estudiantes, there was a minute’s silence at halftime in remembrance of Menotti.

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