BUENOS AIRES - Juan Roman Riquelme and
Juan Sebastian Veron were recalled by Argentina coach Alejandro
Sabella on Thursday in a squad of home-based players to prepare
for two friendlies against arch-rivals Brazil next month.
Sabella named another squad made up of European-based
players for matches in Asia, leaving out controversial striker
Carlos Tevez, but recalling 2006 World Cup midfielder Lucho
Gonzalez and 2010 defenders Jonas Gutierrez, Martin Demichelis
and Nicolas Otamendi.
The 26-man squad of exiles does include Lionel Messi,
Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero among the strikers.
Riquelme, one of the outstanding players of the 2006 World
Cup, last played for Argentina three years ago after refusing
to play under Diego Maradona while Veron has not played for
Argentina since the 2010 finals.
Sabella was appointed two weeks ago in succession to Sergio
Batista, whose year in the job since taking over from Maradona
ended after the Copa America in which Argentina lost on
penalties to Uruguay in the quarter-finals.
He has little time in which to forge one squad for
Argentina's opening 2014 World Cup qualifiers in October. They
are at home to Chile on October 7 and visit Copa America
semi-finalists Venezuela four days later.
Olympique Marseille's Gonzalez, highly rated in Europe, was
overlooked by both Maradona and Batista, while another
French-based player, Lyon striker Lisandro Lopez is also
recalled after a long absence, while Diego Milito is dropped.
The home-based squad contains six players each from
Argentine champions Velez Sarsfield and Sabella's former club
Estudiantes, and four each from Riquelme's team Boca Juniors
and Racing Club.
Among the most internationally experienced players in the
local squad apart from Veron and Riquelme are Velez left back
Emiliano Papa and Boca's utility defender Clemente Rodriguez, a
member of Maradona's 2010 World Cup squad.
Argentina's European-based team will play Venezuela in
Calcutta on September 2 and Nigeria in Dhaka four days later.
The home-based team will meet Brazil, who will pick their
side from just locally-based players, at home on September 14 and
away two weeks later.
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