Buenos Aires (AFP) – Lionel Messi will spearhead Argentina’s attack against arch-rivals Brazil next month but there was no place in the squad for Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero.
Inter Milan forward Mauro Icardi replaces Aguero in a squad believed to have been chosen by Jorge Sampaoli, the Sevilla coach who is poised to take over Argentina in a bid to rescue their World Cup hopes.
Playmaker Manuel Lanzini, who has enjoyed a good season for West Ham in the Premier League, gets his first international call-up.
Before they get back to the business of qualifying for Russia 2018 in August, Messi and Argentina play Brazil in a June 9 friendly in Melbourne in what is likely to be Sampaoli’s first game in charge of his country.
Four days later Argentina travel to Singapore for a friendly against the city-state.
Barcelona star Messi had a four-game ban from competitive internationals for swearing at an assistant referee lifted earlier this month, giving a major boost to Argentina’s foundering World Cup hopes.
They are fifth in qualifying in South America, with only the top four earning automatic places in Russia.
In addition to the absence of Aguero, there is also no place in the squad for Ezequiel Lavezzi, the forward who last year swapped Paris Saint-Germain for Chinese Super League (CSL) side Hebei China Fortune.
Goalkeepers: Nahuel Guzman (Tigres/MEX), Sergio Romero (Manchester United/ENG), Geronimo Rulli (Real Sociedad/ESP)
Defenders: Emanuel Mammana (Lyon/FRA), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City/ENG), Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla/ESP), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona/ESP)
Midfielders: Lucas Biglia (Lazio/ITA), Ever Banega (Inter/ITA), Angel Di Maria (Paris SG/FRA), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica/POR), Guido Rodriguez (Tijuana/MEX), Leandro Paredes (AS Roma/ITA), Manuel Lanzini (West Ham/ENG)
Attackers: Joaquin Correa (Sevilla/ESP), Lionel Messi (Barcelona/ESP), Gonzalo Higuaín (Juventus/ITA), Paulo Dybala (Juventus/ITA), Alejandro Gomez (Atalanta/ITA), Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan/ITA)