By Adeboye Amosu: Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero top the list of 22 foreign-based stars invited by Nigeria’s Russia 2018 World Cup grpup opponents Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli for next month’s international friendly fixtures against Italy and Spain, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
The two-time world champions will face Italy at the Etihad Stadium, home of English Premier League leaders Manchester City on March 23rd and then take on Spain four days later at Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitan.
Sampaoli also handed invitation to Manchester United and Everton defenders Marcos Rojo and Marcos Funes Mori who last featured for the Albiceleste in March last year due to long-term injuries.
Chelsea second choice goalkeeper Willy Caballero also got the nod for the games following some impressive showings in the Carabao Cup and Emirates FA Cup.
Other regular names in the squad are Paris Saint-Germain forward Angel Di Maria, Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero, Nicolas Otamendi, Javier Mascherano, Lucas Biglia and Ever Banega.
There was however no place in the squad for Paulo Dybala who recently returned from injury for his club Juventus, Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi and Carlos Tevez who rejoined Boca Juniors.
Messi missed last November’s 4-2 friendly defeat to the Super Eagles in Russia as he was rested by Sampaoli.
Argentina are drawn in Group D with Nigeria, Iceland and Croatia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
THE FULL SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero, Willy Caballero, Nahuel Guzman
Defenders: Marcos Rojo, Funes Mori, Federico Fazio, Marcos Acuna, Eduardo Salvio, Nicolas Otamendi, Nicolas Tagilifiaco, Gabriel Mercado
Midfielders: Javier Mascherano, Leandro Paredes, Manuel Lanzini, Giovanni Lo Celso, Lucas Biglia, Ever Banega, Angel Di Maria
Attackers: Gonzalo Higuain, Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Diego Perotti