Lionel Messi absent for Argentina friendlies

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Lionel Messi absent for Argentina friendlies

Lionel Messi and several other veteran players were left out of the Argentina squad on Friday ahead of friendlies against Guatemala and Colombia.

Argentina’s interim coach Lionel Scaloni has not called on the Barcelona star, who are reportedly considering his international future after another frustrating World Cup.

Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, Paris Saint-Germain’s Angel Di Maria and AC Milan loan signing Gonzalo Higuain were also left out by Scaloni. Just like defender Nicolas Otamendi and midfielder Ever Banega.

Argentina will play Guatemala on September 7 in Los Angeles and Colombia in New Jersey four days later.

Scaloni have chosen more than 20 new faces, including young players like Boca Juniors striker Cristian Pavon and Giovanni Simeone of Italian club Fiorentina. He is the son of Diego Simeone, the current Atletico Madrid coach and former Argentine midfielder.

The squad includes Mauro Icardi, the Inter Milan striker not selected for the World Cup by former coach Jorge Sampaoli.

Argentina were eliminated from the World Cup in the knockout first round by the eventual champion of France. Messi, who turned 31 in his fourth and possibly final World Cup, again failed to score in the competition’s round of 16.

The Argentine Football Association has yet to announce a permanent replacement for Sampaoli.

Argentina team:

Goalkeepers: Franco Armani (River Plate), Geronimo Rulli (Real Sociedad), Sergio Romero (Manchester United).

Defenders: Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla), Fabricio Bustos (Independiente), Leonel Di Placido (Lanus), German Pezzella (Fiorentina), Alan Franco (Independiente), Ramiro Funes Mori (Villarreal), Walter Kannemann (Gremio), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax).

Midfielder : Santiago Ascacibar (Stuttgart), Leandro Paredes (Zenit Saint-Petersburg), Rodrigo Battaglia (Sporting Lisbon), Maximiliano Meza (Independiente), Giovani Lo Celso (Paris Saint-Gerrmain), Marcos Acuna (Sporting Lisbon), Gonzalo Martinez (River) , Franco Cervi (Benfica), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica), Ezequiel Palacios (River), Matias Vargas (Velez), Franco Vazquez (Seville).

Forward: Cristian Pavon (Boca Juniors), Angel Correa (Atletico Madrid), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan), Giovanni Simeone (Fiorentina).

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