ARGENTINA COACH ALEJANDRO Sabella has omitted Carlos Tevez, Javier Pastore and Erik Lamela from his 30-man provisional squad for the World Cup.
Tevez scored 19 goals for Juventus in Serie A this season, but the 30-year-old former Manchester City striker has been deemed surplus to requirements nonetheless. The Buenos Aires native has not played for his country since 2011.
Paris St-Germain’s attacking midfielder Pastore has also been left out of Sabella’s initial selection after a season in which he produced one goal and one assist in 28 Ligue 1 appearances for Laurent Blanc’s side.
Lamela joined Tottenham Hotspur for £26 million last summer, but had an injury-disrupted campaign for the London club and has made only 10 starts. The former Roma playmaker will now have a summer off in which to prepare himself physically for the 2014/15 campaign.
The surprise inclusions in this 30-player group are Franco Di Santo of Werder Bremen, Fabian Rinaudo of Catania and River Plate’s Gabriel Mercado. Man City defender Martin Demichelis is named too, having made his last Argentina appearance in 2011.
Midfield trio Fernando Gago, Angel Di Maria and Augusto Fernandez are currently carrying injuries, but all three hope to be fit in time for the World Cup. Argentina will face Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Nigeria in Group F.
Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Sampdoria), Mariano Andujar (Catania), Agustin Orion (Boca Juniors).
Defenders: Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Federico Fernandez (Napoli), Ezequiel Garay (Benfica), Marcos Rojo (Sporting Lisbon), Hugo Campagnaro (Inter Milan), Martin Demichelis (Manchester City), Jose Basanta (Monterrey), Nicolas Otamendi (Atletico Mineiro), Lisandro Lopez (Getafe), Gabriel Mercado (River Plate).
Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Fernando Gago (Boca Juniors), Lucas Biglia (Lazio), Ever Banega (Newell’s Old Boys), Ricardo Alvarez (Inter Milan), Augusto Fernandez (Celta Vigo), Jose Sosa (Atletico Madrid), Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid), Maxi Rodriguez (Newell’s Old Boys), Fabian Rinaudo (Catania), Enzo Perez (Benfica).
Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Rodrigo Palacio (Inter Milan), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Paris St-Germain), Franco Di Santo (Werder Bremen).