Striker Carlos Tevez was left out of Argentina’s preliminary 30-man squad for the World Cup on Tuesday.
Despite having just led Juventus to the Italian league title as the team’s top scorer, Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella ignored pleas from Tevez’ passionate fan base in Argentina.
Sabella has never called up the hard-working striker since taking charge of the national team in 2011. Instead he’s put his faith in Ezequiel Lavezzi and Rodrigo Palacio as substitutes for star attackers Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero.
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All were included in Sabella’s initial 30-player squad, which will be reduced to a final 23 by a FIFA deadline of June 2.
Sabella also excluded veteran midfielder Esteban Cambiasso of Inter Milan but included Manchester City’s Martin Demichelis, who hasn’t played for the national team for two years.
While Argentina’s attack is among the world’s strongest, the team looks weaker at the back.
Sergio Romero remains Sabella’s first-choice goalkeeper even though he’s not a regular starter for French club Monaco. Mariano Andujar of Catania and Agustin Orion of Boca Juniors were called up as Romero’s backups in the preliminary squad.
Sabella included central defenders Federico Fernandez and Ezequiel Garay along with fullbacks Pablo Zabaleta and Marco Roja.
Boca Juniors midfielder Fernando Gago was selected despite receiving a knee injury last month. Gago damaged a ligament in his left knee last month in the Argentine league.
The midfield lineup also includes Javier Mascherano, Angel Di Maria and Ever Banega.
Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Monaco), Mariano Andujar (Catania), Agustin Orion (Boca Juniors).
Defenders: Federico Fernandez (Napoli), Ezequiel Garay (Benfica), Martin Demichelis (Manchester City), Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Marcos Rojo (Sporting Lisbon), Jose Basanta (Monterrey), Hugo Campagnaro (Inter Milan), Nicolas Otamendi (Atletico Mineiro), Lisandro Lopez (Getafe), Gabriel Mercado (River Plate).
Midfielders: Fernando Gago (Boca Juniors), Ever Banega (Newell’s Old Boys), Augusto Fernandez (Celta de Vigo), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid), Lucas Biglia (Lazio), Maxi Rodriguez (Newell’s Old Boys), Ricardo Alvarez (Inter Milan), Enzo Perez (Benfica), Fabian Rinaudo (Catania), Jose Sosa (Atletico Madrid).
Forwards: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Paris Saint Germain), Rodrigo Palacio (Inter Milan), Franco Di Santo (Werder Bremen).