Paris St-Germain’s Lionel Messi will play in his fifth World Cup finals as part of an Argentina squad that includes five Premier League players. Head coach Lionel Scaloni has combined veterans like Messi, 35, and Angel di Maria, 34, with younger players such as Manchester City forward Julian Alvarez.
Injured Roma striker Paulo Dybala, 28, also gets the nod despite not playing since 9 October. Argentina’s first game in Group C is against Saudi Arabia on 22 November. They will also face Poland and Mexico. Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, Tottenham’s Christian Romero, Manchester United’s Lisandro Martinez and Brighton midfielder Alexis Mac Allister make up the contingent of Premier League players.
There is no place for Manchester United winger Alejandro Garnacho, 18, who was called up to the senior squad for the first time in March but has not yet earned his first cap. Dybala’s inclusion provided the greatest surprise. The former Juventus forward had been expected to miss the tournament after picking up a freak thigh injury while taking a penalty for Roma. Dybala had been in great form before that, scoring in five consecutive matches.
Argentina, who won the Copa America title last year, are on a run of 35 matches unbeaten. They last won the World Cup in 1986 and finished runners-up in 1990 and 2014. “They are all proud to be picked and to wear this jersey,” said Scaloni of those selected.