BUENOS AIRES - Argentina coach Sergio
Batista put his stamp on the post-Diego Maradona era by
recalling World Cup absentees Javier Zanetti, Esteban Cambiasso
and Andres d'Alessandro to the national squad on Friday.
Batista, the interim coach hoping to be confirmed
permanently later this year, also named Barcelona defender
Gabriel Milito in a 23-man squad for a September 7 friendly against
World Cup winners Spain at River Plate's Monumental stadium.
Inter Milan's Zanetti, a veteran of the 1998 and 2002 World
Cups, and Cambiasso, who played in the 2006 finals, were
surprise omissions from the squad for South Africa where
Argentina were eliminated by Germany in the quarter-finals.
Batista, handed the job on an interim basis after Maradona
was not retained, otherwise picked players who were in his
squad for this month's 1-0 friendly win over Ireland in Dublin.
"I'm thinking of the 2014 World Cup and the priority is to
develop juniors for the senior team," said Batista, who in
Ireland had talked of mixing experience and youth in the squad.
"The way we work in Argentine football must change because
we can't always be thinking that the most important thing is to
win from when a kid is eight," said Batista, who had been in
charge of the juniors and the 2008 Olympic title winners.
The 37-year-old Zanetti, Argentina's record caps holder
with 136, and Cambiasso were overlooked in June despite having
helped Inter win a treble of Serie A, Italian Cup and Champions
Barcelona's Gabriel Milito was also not picked by
Maradona despite being a first choice central defender for
Argentina in the 2006 finals in Germany and showing good form
after returning from a long absence with a knee ligament
The 29-year-old D'Alessandro, who last played for Argentina
five years ago and has never appeared at a World Cup, helped
his Brazilian club Internacional win the Libertadores Cup this
week and is a candidate for South American player of the year.
The only home-based player on Batista's list published on
the Argentine Football Association's website was Lanus goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin.
The match is part of Argentina's bicentennial celebrations.
Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (AZ Alkmaar), Mariano Andujar
(Catania), Agustin Marchesin (Lanus)
Defenders: Martin Demichelis (Bayern Munich), Walter
Samuel, Nicolas Burdisso, Javier Zanetti (all Inter Milan),
Gabriel Heinze (Olympique Marseille), Pablo Zabaleta
(Manchester City), Gabriel Milito (Barcelona)
Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Liverpool), Fernando Gago,
Angel Di Maria (both Real Madrid), Ever Banega (Valencia),
Esteban Cambiasso (Inter Milan), Mario Bolatti (Fiorentina),
Andres D'Alessandro (Internacional)
Forwards: Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid), Carlos Tevez
(Manchester City), Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid), Lionel
Messi (Barcelona), Diego Milito (Inter Milan), Ezequiel Lavezzi
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