Premier League stars join Messi in Argentina squad

Argentina’s Lionel Messi controls the ball during the closed-door 2022 FIFA World Cup South American qualifier football match against Paraguay at La Bombonera Stadium in Buenos Aires on November 12, 2020.

Paris St-Germain’s Lionel Messi will play in his
fifth World Cup finals as part of an Argentina squad that includes five Premier
League players.

Head coach Lionel Scaloni has combined veterans like
Messi, 35, and Angel di Maria, 34, with younger players such as Manchester City
forward Julian Alvarez.

Injured Roma striker Paulo Dybala, 28, also gets the
nod despite not playing since 9 October.

Argentina’s first game in Group C is against Saudi
Arabia on 22 November.

They will also face Poland and Mexico.

Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez,
Tottenham’s Christian Romero, Manchester United’s Lisandro Martinez and
Brighton midfielder Alexis Mac Allister make up the contingent of Premier
League players.

There is no place for Manchester United winger
Alejandro Garnacho, 18, who was called up to the senior squad for the first
time in March but has not yet earned his first cap.

Dybala’s inclusion provided the greatest surprise.
The former Juventus forward had been expected to miss the tournament after
picking up a freak thigh injury while taking a penalty for Roma. Dybala had been
in great form before that, scoring in five consecutive matches.

Argentina, who won the Copa America title last year,
are on a run of 35 matches unbeaten. They last won the World Cup in 1986 and
finished runners-up in 1990 and 2014.

“They are all proud to be picked and to wear
this jersey,” said Scaloni of those selected.

Argentina squad

Goalkeepers: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa),
Franco Armani (River Plate) and Geronimo Rulli (Villarreal)

Defenders: Gonzalo Montiel (Sevilla), Nahuel
Molina (Atletico Madrid), German Pezzella (Real Betis), Cristian Romero
(Tottenham Hotspur), Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica), Lisandro Martinez (Manchester
United), Juan Foyth (Villarreal), Nicolas Tagliafico (Olympique Lyonnais),
Marcos Acuna (Sevilla)

Midfielders: Leandro Paredes (Juventus), Guido
Rodriguez (Real Betis), Enzo Fernandez (Benfica), Rodrigo De Paul (Atletico
Madrid), Exequiel Palacios (Bayer Leverkusen), Alejandro Gomez (Sevilla),
Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton & Hove Albion)

Forwards: Paulo Dybala (AS Roma), Lionel Messi
(Paris St Germain), Angel Di Maria (Juventus), Nicolas Gonzalez (Fiorentina),
Joaquin Correa (Inter Milan), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan), Julian Alvarez
(Manchester City).

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