- Argentina squad confirmed for friendlies
- Messi returns as world champion
- Man Utd wonderkid receives call-up
WHAT HAPPENED? Ahead of upcoming friendly fixtures against Panama and Curacao, Argentina has confirmed a 35-man squad for their first international break since lifting the 2022 World Cup. The big news is that head coach Lionel Scaloni has called on seven-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi once again, while also giving Manchester United starlet Alejandro Garnacho his second senior call up - though he is still waiting for his maiden cap.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Many assumed that Messi would retire after proving instrumental in Qatar and firing Argentina to a first World Cup win since 1986, but the 35-year-old - who was recently crowned The Best FIFA Men's Player for 2022 - is back in the mix once again as a fighting champion. Also included is Maximo Perrone, the 20-year-old midfielder who completed a move to Manchester City in January.
The squad in full is as follows: Franco Armani, Geronimo Rulli, Emiliano Martinez, Juan Foyth, Gonzalo Montiel, Nahuel Molina, Nehuen Perez, German Pezzella, Cristian Romero, Nicolas Otamendi, Lisandro Martinez, Nicolas Tagliafico, Marcos Acuna, Lautaro Blanco, Leandro Paredes, Guido Rodriguez, Enzo Fernandez, Maximo Perrone, Exequiel Palacios, Rodrigo De Paul, Facundo Buonanotte, Thiago Almada, Giovani Lo Celso, Alexis Mac Allister, Angel Di Maria, Angel Correa, Emiliano Buendia, Valentin Carboni, Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala, Lautaro Martinez, Julian Alvarez, Alejandro Garnacho, Nicolas Gonzalez, Alejandro Gomez.
AND WHAT'S MORE: 18-year-old Garnacho stole headlines again this week, putting United back in front against West Ham in the last minute of their FA Cup fifth round tie. The strike effectively sent the Red Devils through to the quarter final, though Fred did make it 3-1 shortly after. Born in Madrid, Garnacho qualifies for La Albiceleste through his mother and switched allegiances to represent Argentina at Under-20 level last year. His scintillating form in their youth side saw people tip him for a place in their World Cup squad, but he was snubbed and had to watch them lift the trophy from home.
IN THREE PHOTOS:Getty ImagesGetty ImagesGetty
WHAT NEXT? Having very quickly cemented himself as one for the future at United and won over Erik ten Hag after a slightly shaky start in pre-season, Garnacho's next challenge is to break into the senior Argentina side and let his talents shine on the international stage.