Argentina’s interim coach Lionel Scaloni kept his promise to leave star forward Lionel Messi out of friendly matches against Iraq and Brazil next month. Prolific Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero and Paris Saint-Germain winger Angel Di Maria were also rested for the matches in Saudi Arabia, with Scaloni keen to test new players. Argentina faces Iraq on October 11 and Brazil five days later.
Three players could make their debuts in those games. Defender Juan Foyth (Tottenham) and midfielders Rodrigo De Paul (Udinese) and Roberto Pereyra (Watford) were all called up for the first time on Friday. Scaloni is in charge until the end of the year before handing the team to a successor, with Messi’s international future still uncertain.
Messi was left frustrated after scoring only one goal, and missing a penalty, at the World Cup earlier this year.
Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Geronimo Rulli (Real Sociedad) and Franco Armani (River Plate).
Defenders: Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Ramiro Funes Mori (Villarreal), German Pezzella (Fiorentina), Walter Kannemann (Gremio), Juan Foyth (Tottenham), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax), Alan Franco (Independiente), Fabricio Bustos (Independiente) and Renzo Saravia (Racing).
Midfielders: Santiago Ascacibar (Stuttgart), Leandro Paredes (Zenit St. Petersburg), Giovani Lo Celso (Real Betis), Franco Vazquez (Sevilla), Rodrigo De Paul (Udinese), Roberto Pereyra (Watford), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica), Franco Cervi (Benfica), Rodrigo Battaglia (Sporting Lisbon), Marcos Acuna (Sporting Lisbon), Maximiliano Meza (Independiente) and Ezequiel Palacios (River Plate)
Strikers: Cristian Pavon (Boca Juniors), Gonzalo Martinez (River Plate), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan), Angel Correa (Atletico Madrid) and Giovanni Simeone (Fiorentina)