Barcelona hero Lionel Messi headlines a star-studded Argentina squad who will be heading to the 2015 Copa America which begins on June 1 in Chile.
Argentina coach Gerardo Martino named the four-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner alongside a host of other world class superstars from European and domestic leagues.
Messi who has won everything there is at club level but has only the 2008 Olympic Gold Medal to show at the international stage will captain La Albiceleste who last won the competition in 1993.
Seven English Premier League players led by Manchester City trio Sergio ‘Kun’ Aguero, defender Martin Demichelis and Pablo Zabaleta as well as Manchester United duo Angel Di Maria and Marcos Rojo made it to Martino’s 30-man preliminary squad. Other Premier League players to make the cut are Tottenham’s Erik Lamela and Swansea’s Federico Fernandez.
Serie A top scorer Mauro Icardi and Palermo hotshot Paulo Dybala were surprise exclusions from the squad but the presence of Juventus’ Carlos Tevez, Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain, Nicolas Gaitan of Benfica and PSG’s Ezequiel Lavezzi means the 14-time winners are stable upfront.
The squad will be trimmed down to the required 23 before the final deadline of June 1.
Argentina have been drawn in Group B alongside defending champions and record winners Uruguay, invitees Jamaica and two-time winners Paraguay who they play first at Estadio La Portada in June 13.
Argentina Preliminary Squad
Goalkeepers : Sergio Romero, Nahuel Guzman, Mariano Andujar, Agustin Marchesin.
Defenders : Pablo Zabaleta, Ezequiel Garay, Martin Demichelis, Marcos Rojo, Nicolas Otamendi, Facundo Roncaglia, Federico Fernandez, Lucas Orban, Milton Casco.
Midfielders : Lucas Biglia, Javier Mascherano, Javier Pastore, Ever Banega, Fernando Gago, Roberto Pereyra, Federico Mancuello, Enzo Perez.
Forwards : Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, Angel Di Maria, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Nicolas Gaitan, Erik Lamela, Maxi Rodriguez.