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Messi returns to Argentina squad for World Cup qualifiers

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Buenos Aires, March 7 (IANS) Lionel Messi has returned to Argentina’s squad for World Cup qualifiers against Venezuela and Ecuador, the Argentine Football Association said on Sunday.

The 34-year-old Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) forward missed the Albicleste’s last qualifiers against Chile and Colombia earlier this year as he recovered from a bout of Covid-19.

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Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni also included seven uncapped teenagers in a provisional 44-man squad: Franco Carboni, Valentin Carboni, Alejandro Garnacho, Nicolas Paz, Tiago Geralnik, Luka Romero, and Matias Soule, reports Xinhua.

Argentina will meet Venezuela in Buenos Aires on March 25 and Ecuador in Guayaquil four days later.

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The two-time World Cup winners have already qualified for the football showpiece tournament, to be played in Qatar from November 21 to December 18.

The provisional squad:

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Goalkeepers: Franco Armani (River Plate), Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Geronimo Rulli (Villarreal), Juan Musso (Atalanta) and Esteban Andrada (Rayados).

Defenders: Gonzalo Montiel (Sevilla), Nahuel Molina (Udinese), Cristian Romero (Tottenham), Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica), Juan Foyth (Villarreal), Lucas Martinez Quarta (Fiorentina), German Pezzella (Betis), Lisandro Martinez (Ajax), Nehuen Perez (Udinese), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax), Marcos Acuna (Sevilla) and Franco Carboni (Inter).

Midfielders: Rodrigo De Paul (Atletico Madrid), Leandro Paredes (PSG), Giovani Lo Celso (Villarreal), Exequiel Palacios (Bayer Leverkusen), Manuel Lanzini (West Ham), Guido Rodriguez (Betis), Roberto Pereyra (Udinese), Emiliano Buendia (Aston Villa), Alejandro Gomez (Sevilla), Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton), Nicolas Paz (Real Madrid), Tiago Geralnik (Villarreal) and Valentin Carboni (Inter).

Forwards: Lionel Messi (PSG), Lautaro Martinez (Inter), Lucas Ocampos (Sevilla), Nicolas Gonzalez (Fiorentina), Angel Correa (Atletico Madrid), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Angel Di Maria (PSG), Julian Alvarez (River Plate), Joaquin Correa (Inter), Giovanni Simeone (Hellas Verona), Lucas Boye (Elche), Matias Soule (Juventus), Alejandro Garnacho (Manchester United) and Luka Romero (Lazio).

–IANS

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