Argentina tried to hire Pep Guardiola after World Cup exit - AFA president

Veron: Argentina need to stop relying on Messi (2:11)

Former Argentina international Juan Sebastian Veron discusses how the national side needs to structure itself going forward, following their performance at the 2018 World Cup. (2:11)

Argentina explored the possibility of appointing Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola but found it was financially impossible, the president of the country's football association has said.

Argentina parted company with Jorge Sampaoli last month after a disappointing World Cup campaign, with Lionel Scaloni and Pablo Aimar taking over on an interim basis.

AFA president Claudio Tapia confirmed that Guardiola had been approached to lead a new long-term project.

"You have to have a fat wallet," he told TyC Sports. "It was impossible. At the time we made enquiries, but you need to have a big economic backup.

"It is very difficult. We would have needed to mortgage the whole [of the AFA] to pay for him, and even that might not have been enough.

"We were prepared to make an effort. We analysed it, we knew he was expensive, but we did not think so much. But yeah, we made some research, we tried to talk but it stayed there."

Tapia named Tottenham Hotspur's Mauricio Pochettino, Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone and River Plate's Marcelo Gallardo as potential candidates for the job, but stressed that a final decision would not be made until December.

"We have to talk to everyone," he said. "Pochettino is a great manager, Simeone is a great manager, Gallardo is a great manager, but we do not have to hurry.

"We have to give them the arguments to seduce them that they want to coach Argentina. It does not have to be an emergency.

"We have to make a very important decision and we must take it with the necessary conviction. There are more managers, not only these three names."

Guardiola has said on several occasions that he believes Argentina must be coached by an Argentine.

"A Brazilian must manage Brazil and an Argentine must manage Argentina," he told ESPN Brasil last year. "People think that because I have won in Barcelona that I would go [to coach Argentina].

"But Brazil and Argentina have very good coaches. They must be coached by their own."

Meanwhile, the AFA president said Lionel Messi should be "left alone" following Argentina's World Cup round-of-16 exit amid fears that the 31-year-old could retire from international football.

"Messi is a human being -- he is normal and common like any of us," he said. "It was mistake saying that it was Messi's team. Football is a team game, and we have to understand that we have to help him.

"There is not a single player who wins a World Cup or a football game. We must leave him alone and help him.

"I have not talked to Leo. Let's leave him alone. We wanted him to save us and it was a mistake. It cannot happen again. He alone will decide if he is going to be a part [of Argentina's future] or not, but today he needs tranquility."