There were no real surprises as Lionel Scaloni named his Argentina squad for the November friendlies against Brazil and Uruguay but two familiar faces returned as captain Lionel Messi and Sergio Agüero rejoined the ranks.
For all the last FIFA date before World Cup qualification begins in March, Argentina travel to Saudi Arabia to play Brazil on November 15th before taking on Uruguay in Israel four days later.
Messi hasn’t featured since his red card in the Copa América in which he then lambasted CONMEBOL for their alledged corruption but with the Barcelona star’s suspension served, Messi reclaims his place in Scaloni’s squad.
So too does Manchester City striker Sergio Agüero, who had not been fully fit for the previous international breaks and therefore not risked.
Scaloni though was eager to try out his first choice squad before the end of the year after a period of experimenting and looking at a host of options. Brazil and Uruguay will provide stern tests and financial reward for the AFA ahead of a hugely important 2020.
Boca Juniors goalkeeper Esteban Andrada returns following the club’s elimination from the Copa Libertadores but with River Plate to play the final against Flamengo at the end of the month that group, including Franco Armani, Exequiel Palacios, Lucas Martínez Quarta and Gonzalo Montiel are still absent.
Andrada perhaps taking over duties from Agustin Marchesin who played both friendlies in the October FIFA date and reverting back to a team with Messi and Agüero, as was used in the Copa América, will likely be the only major changes to the starting eleven.
Youngster Nehuén Pérez swapping places with Leonardo Balerdi in the senior squad the only other noticeable change, Scaloni rewarding the former Argentinos Juniors defender for his fine form on loan at Portuguese club Famalicão.
Balerdi drops into Fernando Batista’s under-23 squad as they too get one last chance before the pre-Olympic tournament in Colombia in January kicks off.
Ezequiel Barco, fresh from the disappointment of Atlanta United’s MLS Cup exit, and Racing Club midfielder Matías Zaracho, two exciting additions to Batista’s talented squad.
The under-23s have also been boosted by returning Boca players so Nicolas Capaldo and Alexis Mac Allister give Batista some tremendous options in midfield.
Those final preparation are due to take place in Spain’s Canary Islands where Argentina will play Chile on November 14th and either Brazil or the United States three days later in a friendly triangular tournament.