“I do not know if Paulo [Dybala] will be coming. Tomorrow [today] we will have an exact answer. If not, surely I will call [Fernando] Belluschi.”
That was the assessment of Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza on Tuesday and it would appear that the medical team have now confirmed that Paulo Dybala will miss the World Cup qualifiers against Brazil and Colombia in a little over two weeks.
The Juventus striker limped off with a thigh injury during Juventus’ defeat to AC Milan at the weekend and so as promised Bauza will give an opportunity to San Lorenzo midfielder Fernando Belluschi.
The 33-year-old attacking midfield has been in sensational form for Los Cuervos this season and in addition to his two goals and creativity in the league, Belluschi has San Lorenzo on the brink of the Copa Sudamericana semi-finals.
The former Porto and Bursaspor midfielder is hardly a similar replacement for Dybala and at 33 is not one for the future but with Bauza looking to use a 4-4-2 in the upcoming matches, Belluschi could perhaps add a bit of dynamism to central midfield and a link between defence and attack.
While the inclusion of Belluschi may not overly excite Argentina supporters the recall of Ezequiel Lavezzi will frustrate many. The 31-year-old completed a move to Hebei China Fortune in January and in that time has only made ten appearances.
Lavezzi’s last game for Argentina was the Copa América semi final where he fractured his arm but at this stage in his career it is difficult to see what he offers the national team other than experience.