Messi in, Icardi out: Argentina's Copa América squad announced
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni has announced the list of 23 players he will take to Brazil, but there is no place for Inter Milan's Mauro Icardi.
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni has named his 23-man squad for the upcoming Copa América ahead of La Albiceleste’s opening game against Paraguay on June 20.
Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Kun Agüero (Manchester City), Ángel Di María (PSG) and Paulo Dybala (Juventus) are amongst the stand-out players on Scaloni’s list, while the most notable absentee is Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi.
Scaloni’s decision to leave Icardi out of his final 23 comes after the striker’s poor season in Italy, where his fallout with Inter’s hierarchy over contractual issues has been well documented over the past few months. The 26-year-old has scored just two goals in 2019 and was stripped of the Inter captain’s armband back in March.
The 23-man squad also includes eight players from both the domestic and Mexican leagues, including Milton Casco of River Plate, who will compete with Ajax’s Nicolás Tagliafico at left back.
"We believe that these are the best players that we have at this moment – an important moment for the national team. Some were left out due to injury, but they were always in consideration,” said Scaloni of his squad selection.
“When you have so many good players to choose from, there are always doubts. Including everyone is difficult, but the final decision is always based on what's best for the team.”
Argentina look to put World Cup heartache behind them
After a dismal World Cup which saw them scrape through to their group, only to be knocked out by France in the last-16 stage, Argentina will look to banish some ghosts at this summer’s Copa América, a competition they have not won since 1993.
Despite their poor run of games since the beginning of the World Cup, which included a 3-1 loss to Venezuela in a friendly in March, Scaloni’s side will be favourites to top group B, which also includes Colombia, Paraguay and Qatar.
But the Argentine coach is not taking their opponents lightly and acknowledged the tough task that lies ahead in securing the top spot.
"Colombia is one of the most powerful teams in South America, they have great players. Paraguay is a very competitive team,” he said. “Qatar won the Asian Cup, they played very well and they know each other by heart, it's going to be a complicated group."
Argentina's 23-man squad for the Copa América
Goalkeepers: Andrada (Boca), Armani (River), Marchesín (América)
Defenders Saravia (Racing), Foyth (Tottenham), Otamendi (Man City), Pezzella (Fiorentina), Funes Mori (Villarreal), Tagliafico (Ajax), Casco (River), Acuña (Sporting)
Midfielders: Palacios (River), Guido Rodríguez (América), Paredes (PSG), Lo Celso (Betis), Pereyra (Watford), De Paul (Udinese), Di María (PSG)
Forwards: Messi (Barcelona), Agüero (City), Lautaro (Inter), Matías Suárez (River), Dybala (Juventus).