Copa America: Decoding Argentina's 28-member squad
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni has named a 28-member squad for the upcoming Copa America to be held in Brazil. Lionel Messi leads the side which also has Sergio Aguero and Lautaro Martinez. The notable absentees are Sevilla winger Lucas Ocampos and Tottenham defender Juan Foyth, who was on loan at Villarreal in the recently concluded season. Here we decode Argentina's Copa America squad.
After an impressive 2019-20 season at Sevilla, Ocampos failed to live up to expectations in his second season, scoring just eight times in 46 appearances for the Spanish club. Since 2019, he has made eight appearances for Argentina. However, despite being a consistent figure until now, he has missed out after a poor show against Chile. Meanwhile, Foyth too was axed for his inconsistencies.
PSG star Angel Di Maria, who has 120 international appearances, will look to make an impact. Veteran striker Sergio Aguero, who joined Barcelona recently, finds a berth. Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez will be confident after a strong season. Lucas Alario netted 15 goals for Bayer Leverkusen in 2020-21 and brings quality. Lazio forward Joaquin Correa is another useful option for manager Scaloni.
Messi had a defining season for Barcelona, scoring 38 goals in all competitions. Messi won the Pichichi after scoring the most goals in La Liga (30), besides making nine assists. Messi, who has 72 goals for Argentina, is set to make 100 appearances for his nation (97). Messi hasn't won a major tournament with Argentina and that will be a prime target.
Atalanta's Cristian Romero, Fiorentina's Lucas Martinez Quarta, and Nicolas Tagliafic of Ajax form the crux of Argentina's defensive unit. They will be key figures to make sure Argentina stay strong at the back. Aston Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez will lead the show in goal. Leandro Paredes, Rodrigo De Paul, Giovani Lo Celso, and the versatile Angel Correa form a quality mid-field.
Goal-keepers: Franco Armani, Emiliano Martinez, Juan Musso, Agustin Marchesin. Defenders: Gonzalo Montiel, Nicolas Otamendi, German Pezzella, Nicolas Tagliafico, Lucas Martinez Quarta, Marcos Acuna, Lisandro Martinez, Nahuel Molina Lucero, Cristian Romero. Mid-fielders: Leandro Paredes, Giovani Lo Celso, Exequiel Palacios, Nicolas Gonzalez, Guido Rodriguez, Rodrigo De Paul, Alejandro Gomez, Angel Correa, Nicolas Dominguez. Forwards: Messi, Lautaro Martinez, Angel Di Maria, Joaquin Correa, Sergio Aguero, Lucas Alario.