Olympic Football Tournament: Argentina squad

The final squad for Argentina’s defence of their gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Football Tournament has been announced by Under 23 coach Sergio Batista. Following Bayern München’s refusal to allow Martín Demichelis to join the squad, and Real Madrid doing likewise with Gonzalo Higuaín, the side looks slightly different to that originally named prior to the preperatory friendlies. Inter defender Nicolás Burdisso replaces Demichelis as one of the three overage players. The others are still Javier Mascherano and Juan Román Riquelme.

Oscar Ustari (Getafe, Spain)
Sergio Romero (AZ Alkmaar, Netherlands)

Pablo Zabaleta (Espanyol, Spain)
Ezequiel Garay (Real Madrid, Spain)
Federico Fazio (Sevilla, Spain)
Nicolás Burdisso (Internazionale, Italy)
Luciano Monzón (Boca Juniors)

Fernando Gago (Real Madrid)
Ever Banega (Valencia, Spain)
Javier Mascherano (Liverpool, England)
Juan Román Riquelme (Boca Juniors)

Angel Di María (Benfica, Portugal)
José Sosa (Bayern Munich, Germany)
Diego Buonanotte (River Plate).

Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Spain)
Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli, Italy)
Lautaro Acosta (Sevilla, Spain)
Sergio Agüero (Atlético de Madrid, Spain)

Nicolás Navarro (Napoli, goalkeeper)
Nicolás Pareja (Anderlecht, Belgium, defender)
Lucas Biglia (Anderlecht, midfielder)
Emiliano Insúa (Liverpool, midfielder)

Reserves won’t travel, but could be called up prior to the tournament beginning in the event of an injury to one of the players in the squad. Overage players (each side competing in the Olympic Football Tournament is allowed three players over the age of 23) are highlighted in orange. The side will play a friendly against Japan on the 29th July in Tokyo, before travelling to Beijing, where they begin the defence of their title against the Ivory Coast on the 7th August – the first day of the group stage. Their other group matches will be against Serbia and Australia.

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12 thoughts on “Olympic Football Tournament: Argentina squad

  1. Incredible that players such as Gonzalo Higuaín and Mauro Zárate will miss out on this tournament.

    But there was always going to be case with so many talented players out there.

    What a really strong team that is!

  2. Seba that was exactly the same reaction I had when seeing this list. W-O-W!

    Brazil can call up Ronaldinho if they want…they got no chance!

  3. A bit short on defenders, don’t you think? The thought of injuries worries me.

    (Did Real really prevent Higuain going? Isn’t that illegal?)

  4. I don’t know, Linda. I think they might be light on numbers but the quality of defense looks pretty strong. I think Batista might be setting up the squad to maybe shadow what Basile is trying out with the senior team (i.e. 3 at the back and Zabaleta playing the Zanetti role).

  5. No Linda, it’s not illegal because it’s not a full international tournament. And defence-wise it looks fine to me. They’ve got more / the same number of defenders as forwards (depending whether we count Buonanotte as a midfielder or a forward – I’ve put him as a midfielder here because that’s what AFA.org.ar says), and just because so many of the rest of the world’s national sides are moving towards stacking their squads full of defenders doesn’t mean Argentina have to…

  6. I don’t know whether it was Real Madrid refusing to let Higuain go or simply Batista not calling him up.

    For all I know, clubs are being told by FIFA that they can’t (or shouldn’t, because I don’t know if this is mandatory) deny their U23 players the possibility of joining their respective olympic teams. That’s not the case with the overaged players (see DEMICHELIS and HEINZE with Bayern and Real Madrid respectively or KAKA with AC Milan).

    Bayern, for example, said they had no problems letting José Sosa go to Beijing. As AC Milan said they will release Alexandre Pato but not Kaká.

    I’m worried about the fact that there are only 5 defenders in the squad. One injury and one red card can leave you with only 3 choices (and that’s very very little even if you are planning to play with only 3 at the back).

    Hopefully with this team, if they concede 4 goals per game, they should be able to score 5!

  7. It was reported on Olé as Madrid refusing to release Higuaín, Seba. FIFA regulations certainly don’t say players must be released by their clubs, hence for instance the complications in trying to get Lionel Messi released by Barcelona, in just the same way as the USA were damaged in last year’s Copa América by the fact that since it wasn’t a ‘proper’ tournament for them, they couldn’t force clubs to release players (especially so soon after the CONCACAF Gold Cup).

  8. A striking thing is the vast majority of the players are already in Europe, so only Buonanotte and Monzon will be looking to impress European clubs. Even so, Buonanotte is already being scouted and linked to various clubs.

    Amazing how things change and it would be interesting to check out how many european-based Argentines played in previous Olympics. For starters, I remember Carlitos Tevez tearing it up in Athens while still firmly a Boca Juniors star.

  9. ViVa ArgenTina!
    Squad looks awesomely deadly!
    Messi and Aguero up front!
    All the way for the gold and africa 2010 here they come!

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