No more Messi? Lionel Messi left out of Argentina squad for friendlies
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina—Barcelona star Lionel Messi was left out of the first post-World Cup Argentina squad announced on Friday ahead of four upcoming friendlies.
The move was widely expected following media reports earlier in the week claiming the five-time Ballon d’Or winner had asked to be excused from the country’s four remaining friendlies in 2018.
Also absent from interim coach Lionel Scaloni’s squad are Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria of Paris Saint-Germain, and new AC Milan loan signing Gonzalo Higuain.
Argentina will play Guatemala and Colombia next month in the United States, with two more friendlies scheduled before the end of the year.
Argentina great Diego Maradona had called on the national team to give Messi a break in an interview published in the sports daily “Ole” on Friday.
“I would give him space to breathe. I would tell him ‘play in Europe and stop traveling so you don’t get tired anymore’. He shouldn’t play in friendlies just because the national team earns more with him,” the 57-year-old World Cup winner said.
“Messi shouldn’t be moving around for money.”
The Guatemala match in Los Angeles will be Argentina’s first since they were knocked out of the World Cup by eventual winners France in a thrilling 4-3 last-16 classic.
Jorge Sampaoli was sacked following that showing, with Maradona offering to coach the national side for free.
He was the coach during Argentina’s 2010 World Cup campaign in which they were thumped 4-0 by Germany in the quarter-finals.
Maradona said the side retained “little prestige because we did badly at the World Cup. We had no teamwork, we didn’t use the ball.
“When they told me Sampaoli had 14 assistants, I asked myself why he went, why didn’t he stay at home drinking mate?”
Manchester United’s second-choice goalkeeper Sergio Romero and Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi have earnt recalls to the squad after missing out on the global showpiece in Russia, while Paulo Dybala of Juventus is also included.
omestic-based pair Cristian Pavon of Boca Juniors and Matias Vargas of Velez Sarsfield were also included, alongside young Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez.
Goalkeepers: Franco Armani (River Plate), Geronimo Rulli (Real Sociedad, ESP), Sergio Romero (Manchester United, ENG).
Defenders: Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla, ESP), Fabricio Bustos (Independiente, German Pezzella (Fiorentina, ITA), Alan Franco (Independiente), Ramiro Funes Mori (Villarreal, ESP), Walter Kannemann (Gremio, BRA), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax, NED), Marcos Acuna (Sporting Lisbon, POR), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica, POR), Leonel Di Placido (Lanus).
Midfielders: Santiago Ascacibar (Stuttgart, GER), Leandro Paredes (Zenit, RUS), Rodrigo Battaglia (Sporting Lisbon, POR), Maximiliano Meza (Independiente), Giovani Lo Celso (PSG, FRA), Gonzalo Martinez (River Plate), Franco Cervi (Benfica, POR), Franco Vazquez (Sevilla, ESP), Matias Vargas (Velez), Exequiel Palacios (River Plate).
Forwards: Cristian Pavon (Boca Juniors), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan, ITA), Paulo Dybala (Juventus, ITA), Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan, ITA), Giovanni Simeone (Fiorentina, ITA), Angel Correa (Atletico Madrid, EPA).
You may be interested
Costa Rica confirms measles cases in children of United States citizensAlejandro Zúñiga - March 21, 2019
Costa Rica is enacting a National Surveillance Protocol after confirming two cases of measles, the Health Ministry announced Thursday afternoon.…
Priest accused of sexual abuse arrested trying to leave Costa RicaAFP and The Tico Times - March 21, 2019
A Costa Rican Catholic priest accused of sexual abuse of a minor was arrested Thursday as he tried to leave…
Construction to begin on new terminal at Limón AirportAlejandro Zúñiga - March 21, 2019
The airport in Limón will soon have a modern passenger terminal and is slated to receive several other upgrades as…