Indeed, Argentinian journalist Fernando Niembro has even accused the captain of taking over squad selection duties from Sampaoli.
Much has been made of the footage of the discussion before Sampaoli brought on striker Sergio Aguero as a substitute during the 2-1 win over Nigeria that secured Argentina's passage to the last 16.
A 3-0 thrashing of Argentina came in between victories over Nigeria and Iceland in Group D as Dalic's team sailed through to the knock-out stage with nine points out of nine.
We have players in our team who played a few times with him or against him in LaLiga.
Messi scored his first goal in Russian Federation - his 65th for Argentina - in emphatic style against Nigeria, collecting a long pass on his thigh before smashing it into the back of the net in a trademark finish.
Sampaoli was unstinting in his praise of Messi, describing him as "the best player in the world" and a "genius", but preferred to focus more on the display he expected from his whole team on Saturday. "It will be a very tough game, no doubt", he added.
Germany gets miracle win, Mexico sharp and Belgium cruises on Day 10
However, Mexico truly dominated for stretches, and looked every bit as good as the team that knocked off Germany . While a late goal from South Korea made the score close, the game, in reality, wasn't.
Chinese tech investment in United States is next target in Don's crackdown
A Reuters report says China accused the Trump Administration of being capricious in its handling of trade issues. That seemed to reassure investors somewhat, though the market anxiety didn't completely disappear.
Uruguay 3 Russian Federation 0
There is a sense that Uruguay have done the bare minimum needed to top Group A, but the signs are that they are picking up form. Uruguay spoiled Russia's feel-good start to the World Cup on Monday with a comfortable 3-0 to finish top of Group A.
After lengthy and impassioned protests from the Argentine players, Moses managed to keep his cool and slot past Franco Armani to level the scores.
However, Sampaoli said the conversation was "not how it was characterised".
"If he had the ball less than usual it's because Argentina didn't dominate the match as we did against Iceland". We could've conceded but Leo was stubborn. The 27-year-old Chelsea star has also contributed to three goals already in Russian Federation, and will be looking to add to that tally when the Red Devils go up against Japan in the round of 16.
"It is our commitment to fair play that has got us through", Tashima told local media after Japan moved on to face Belgium next week.
"We have complete faith in our abilities", said Sampaoli. "We were quite confident that we would be able to go through and fortunately that came through".