Argentina rest Messi for World Cup qualifiers

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, January 19Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi, who recently recovered from a Covid-19 infection, was left out of Argentina’s squad for World Cup qualifiers against Chile and Colombia on Wednesday, two former winners having already qualified for Qatar 2022.

Argentina will face Chile in Santiago on January 27 and Colombia at home on February 1, with both opponents still in contention to qualify for the tournament.

Messi contracted the virus while on vacation in his hometown of Rosario in Argentina in December.

On January 5, PSG announced that Messi, who joined them from Barcelona last year, had returned to France after testing negative.

This week, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and Argentina captain was back in full training for the French club.

He missed the Coupe de France game against Vannes and two league matches, the 1-1 draw with Lyon and last Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Brest.

In all, Messi has missed 10 league games since joining PSG in August, and will make his first appearance of 2022 against Reims on Sunday.

Messi is the only one of his Argentine PSG team-mates not to be called up for the qualifiers, with winger Angel Di Maria and midfielder Leandro Paredes among the squad announced by coach Lionel Scaloni.

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There were few changes to the strong 27 squad, with Tottenham’s Christian Romero tooling injured, and just two Argentine club players, both from the River Plate: veteran goalkeeper Franco Armani and forward Julian Alvarez, who has was voted South American Footballer of the Year in 2021.

Team:

Guardians: Franco Armani (River Plate), Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa / ENG), Juan Musso (Atalanta / ITA), Esteban Andrada (Monterrey / MEX)

Defenders: Nahuel Molina (Udinese / ITA), Gonzalo Montiel (Sevilla / ESP), German Pezzella (Real Betis / ESP), Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica / Por), Lisandro Martinez (Ajax / NED), Lucas Martinez Quarta (Fiorentina / ITA) , Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax / NED), Marcos Acuna (Sevilla / ESP)

Midfielders: Lucas Ocampo (Sevilla / ESP), Rodrigo de Paul (Atletico Madrid / ESP), Leandro Paredes (Paris Saint-Germain / Fra), Guido Rodriguez (Real Betis / Spa), Giovanni Lo Celso (Tottenham / Fr), Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton/ENG), Emiliano Buendia (Aston Villa/ENG), Alejandro Gomez (Sevilla/ESP)

Attackers: Nicolas Gonzalez (Fiorentina / ITA), Angel di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain / Fra), Angel Correa (Atletico Madrid / ESP), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan / ITA), Julian Alvarez (River Assiette), Joaquin Correa (Inter Milan / ITA)


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