Injured forward Paulo Dybala made the cut as Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni named on Friday his 26-man squad for the Nov. 20-Dec. 18 World Cup in Qatar, where Lionel Messi will lead the side.
Dybala has not played for his club AS Roma since early October but has been named in the squad as Argentina hope he regains his fitness before their World Cup campaign begins on Nov. 22 against Group C opponents Saudi Arabia.
Messi, 35, will be playing in his fifth World Cup and will be accompanied by fellow veterans Angel Di Maria and Nicolas Otamendi along with fresh faces who helped Argentina win the Copa America title last year.
“They are proud to be called up and wear this jersey, let’s hope that you as fans are too. All together,” coach Scaloni said in an Instagram video.
Argentina will be without services of Giovani Lo Celso, however, after the midfielder picked up a hamstring injury last month while playing for Villarreal, with Scaloni saying he was ‘irreplaceable’.
Leandro Paredes and Rodrigo De Paul will be crucial in midfield while the defence will be led by centre back Otamendi, who is usually partnered with Manchester United’s Lisandro Martinez or Tottenham Hotspur’s Cristian Romero.
“There are no words to describe how it feels to hear my name on the final list. Dreams do come true, let’s go Argentina,” Paredes, who did not make the final cut for the 2018 World Cup, said on Instagram.
Manchester City forward Julian Alvarez, 22, was named in the squad after a stellar year where he scored 18 goals while on loan at Argentine club River Plate before netting seven times in all competitions for Premier League City.
Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez, who scored 25 goals last season and has begun this campaign with eight in all competitions, is expected to lead the line.
Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, one of Argentina’s heroes at the Copa America last year, will also be making his World Cup debut this year.
Argentina also play Mexico and Poland in Group C.
Goalkeepers: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Franco Armani (River Plate) and Geronimo Rulli (Villarreal)
Defenders: Gonzalo Montiel (Sevilla), Nahuel Molina (Atletico Madrid), German Pezzella (Real Betis), Cristian Romero (Tottenham Hotspur), Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica), Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United), Juan Foyth (Villarreal), Nicolas Tagliafico (Olympique Lyonnais), Marcos Acuna (Sevilla)
Midfielders: Leandro Paredes (Juventus), Guido Rodriguez (Real Betis), Enzo Fernandez (Benfica), Rodrigo De Paul (Atletico Madrid), Exequiel Palacios (Bayer Leverkusen), Alejandro Gomez (Sevilla), Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton & Hove Albion)
Forwards: Paulo Dybala (AS Roma), Lionel Messi (Paris St Germain), Angel Di Maria (Juventus), Nicolas Gonzalez (Fiorentina), Joaquin Correa (Inter Milan), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan), Julian Alvarez (Manchester City).