Lionel Messi back in Argentina squad for 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Brazil
Buenos Aires, Oct 22 : Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi was recalled to Argentina’s football squad for its 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Brazil and Colombia next month.
Messi has not played for the national team since scoring in the 1-0 home win over Uruguay on September 1. The 29-year-old returned from a groin injury last Saturday, scoring in Barcelona’s 4-0 La Liga victory over Deportivo La Coruna at the Camp Nou, reports Xinhua.
He followed that performance with a sublime hat-trick as Barcelona routed Manchester City 4-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday. With these performances, he proved his fitness and was named in the squad declared on Friday.
But there was no place for Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Eric Lamela, who were dropped from the squad that drew with Peru and lost to Paraguay last month.
Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza also added Racing midfielder Marcos Acuna and Sao Paulo defender Julio Buffarini to his squad.
The Albiceleste will travel to Brazil for a clash in Belo Horizonte on November 10 before a home duel against Colombia in San Juan five days later.
Bauza’s side are currently fifth in the South American zone standings with 16 points from 10 matches.
The top four teams at the end of the two-year qualifying campaign will earn an automatic berth at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The fifth-ranked side will meet the Oceania champions in an inter-continental playoff.
Goalkeepers: Nahuel Guzman, (Tigres), Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Geronimo Rulli, (Real Sociedad).
Defenders: Martin Demichelis (Espanyol), Mateo Musacchio (Villarreal), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Ramiro Funes Mori (Everton), Gabriel Mercado, (Sevilla), Facundo Roncaglia (Celta de Vigo), Emanuel Mas (San Lorenzo), Pablo Zabaleta, (Manchester City).
Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Guido Pizarro (Tigres), Lucas Biglia (Lazio), Ever Banega (Inter Milan), Enzo Perez (Valencia), Nicolas Gaitan ( Atletico Madrid), Angel Di Maria (PSG), Julio Buffarini (Sao Paulo), Marcos Acuna (Racing Club).
Forwards: Angel Correa (Atletico Madrid), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Lucas Pratto (Atletico Mineiro).