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Otamendi returns but Messi again absent from Albiceleste squad

Alongside Messi, three other attacking stalwarts have been left out: Manchester City's Sergio Agüero, Ángel Di María of Paris Saint-Germain, and AC Milan's Gonzalo Higuain.

Monday 1 October, 2018
Lionel Messi.
Lionel Messi. Foto:OSCAR DEL POZO-AFP

Manchester City center-back Nicolás Otamendi has been recalled to the Argentina squad. But as expected, Lionel Messi was left out of the Albiceleste group due to play arch-rivals Brazil in Saudi Arabia.

After Argentina's disappointing last-16 elimination by eventual winners France from the World Cup in Russia, Messi was granted time off from national team duties for the rest of the year.

He missed friendlies in the United States against Guatemala (3-0) and Colombia (0-0) earlier this month and will watch from afar as interim-coach Lionel Scaloni's team tackle Iraq on October 11, also in Saudi Arabia, and Brazil five days later in another pair of friendlies.

"I've spoken with Messi and we agree that it's not the right time for his return," said Scaloni.

Alongside Messi, three other attacking stalwarts have been left out: Manchester City's Sergio Agüero, Ángel Di María of Paris Saint-Germain, and AC Milan's Gonzalo Higuain.

Inter Milan duo Mauro Icardi and Lautaro Martínez are in, alongside Giovani Lo Celso of PSG and Juventus forward Paulo Dybala.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Franco Armani (River Plate), Gerónimo Rulli (Real Sociedad/ESP), Sergio Romero (Manchester United/ENG)

Defenders: Nicolás Otamendi (Manchester City/ENG), Renzo Saravia (Racing), Juan Foyth (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG), Fabricio Bustos (Independiente), German Pezzella (Fiorentina/ITA), Alan Franco (Independiente), Ramiro Funes Mori (Villarreal/ESP), Walter Kannemann (Gremio/BRA),  Nicolás Tagliafico (Ajax/NED)

Midfielders: Eduardo Salvio (Benfica/POR), Marcos Acuña (Sporting Lisbon/POR), Rodrigo De Paul (Udinese/ITA), Roberto Pereyra (Watford/ENG), Santiago Ascacibar (Stuttgart/GER), Leandro Paredes (Zenit/RUS), Rodrigo Battaglia (Sporting Lisbon/POR), Maximiliano Meza (Independiente), Giovani Lo Celso (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Franco Cervi (Benfica/POR), Franco Vázquez (Sevilla/ESP), Exequiel Palacios (River Plate)

Forwards: Gonzalo Martínez (River Plate), Cristian Pavón (Boca Juniors), Lautaro Martínez (Inter Milan/ITA), Paulo Dybala (Juventus/ITA), Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan/ITA), Giovanni Simeone (Fiorentina/ITA), Angel Correa (Atletico Madrid/ESP)

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