Argentina call up Messi for WC qualifier against Neymar’s Brazil


Buenos Aires (AFP) – Superstar Lionel Messi was called up on Monday to the Argentina squad due to face his new Paris Satin-Germain teammate Neymar and Brazil in a World Cup qualifier next month.

The crunch CONMEBOL encounter on September 5 will mark the first time the two icons face each other as PSG teammates, and will come less than two months after Messi inspired Argentina to a 1-0 victory over Brazil in the Copa America final.

The highly-anticipated encounter is sandwiched between two other World Cup qualifiers, with Argentina playing Venezuela on September 2 and Bolivia a week later.

Brazil lead the single CONMEBOL qualifying group with a perfect 18 points from six matches, while Argentina are second with 12 points and also unbeaten.

Messi won his first international trophy in July as he helped Argentina end a 27-year wait for major silverware by upsetting Brazil at Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Maracana stadium.

The two countries’ star players are yet to play alongside each other this season as both have been given an extended break by PSG following their Copa exertions.

After more than two decades playing at Barcelona, Messi is widely expected to make his PSG debut this weekend away to Reims.

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni sprung no surprises in his squad with Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez and Paulo Dybala of Juventus included among powerful-looking forward options, although new Barca signing Sergio Aguero misses out through injury.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Franco Armani (River Plate), Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa/ENG), Juan Musso (Atalanta/ITA), Geronimo Rulli (Villarreal/ESP)

Defenders: Gonzalo Montiel (Sevilla/ESP), Nahuel Molina (Udinese/ITA), Cristian Romero (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG), Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica/POR), Juan Foyth (Villarreal/ESP), Lucas Martinez Quarta (Fiorentina/ITA), German Pezzella (Real Betis/ESP), Lisandro Martinez (Ajax/ NED), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax/NED), Marcos Acuna (Sevilla/ESP)

Midfielders: Rodrigo De Paul (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Leandro Paredes (Paris Saint-Germain/Francia), Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG), Exequiel Palacios (Bayer Leverkusen/GER), Guido Rodriguez (Real Betis/ESP), Nicolas Dominguez (Bologna/ITA), Alejandro Gomez (Sevilla/ESP), Angel Di María (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA)

Forwards: Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Emiliano Buendia (Aston Villa/ENG), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan/ITA), Nicolas Gonzalez (Fiorentina/ITA), Angel Correa (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Julian Alvarez (River Plate), Joaquin Correa (Lazio/ITA), Paulo Dybala (Juventus/ITA)

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