As if to prove that he can put together quite a handy team without including the Olympic-bound Lionel Messi, Juan Román Riquelme, Sergio Agüero et al, Alfio Basile has named the Argentina squad to face Belarus in a friendly in Minsk, two weeks from today (Weds). There are a couple of surprises in the all-Europe based squad of 18, as well as returns to the national setup for Carlos Tevez, Esteban Cambiasso and Germán Denis. Meanwhile, back in Buenos Aires, Boca might soon be bidding farewell to Jesús Dátolo after their Copa Libertadores conquerors Fluminense upped their interest in the wideman.
The Olympic team, of course, contains players who’d normally be in the full squad for the selección, with Javier Mascherano, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Oscar Ustari all involved in full international meetups recently in addition to the attacking trio listed above. As such, the Argentina squad for the Belarus game can hardly be described as full-strength, but it’s still a strong one. Here it is:
Roberto Abbondanzieri (Getafe, Spain)
Juan Pablo Carrizo (Lazio, Italy)
Gabriel Heinze (Real Madrid, Spain)
Gonzalo Rodríguez (Villarreal, Spain)
Javier Zanetti (Internazionale, Italy)
Nicolás Burdisso (Internazionale)
Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United, England)
Martín Demichelis (Bayern München, Germany)
Maxi Rodríguez (Atlético de Madrid, Spain)
Esteban Cambiasso (Internazionale)
Pablo Ledesma (Catania, Italy)
Mariano González (Porto, Portugal)
Luís González (Porto)
Jonás Gutiérrez (Newcastle United)
Germán Denis (Napoli, Italy)
Lisandro López (Porto, Portugal)
Carlos Tevez (Manchester United, England)
Fernando Cavenaghi (Bordeaux, France)
So Tevez returns to the squad after Basile didn’t include him for the last World Cup qualifiers due to his suspension for the first match, whilst Jonás Gutiérrez and Fabricio Coloccini pick up their first call-ups of their new careers at Newcastle.
At La Bombonera, meanwhile, Boca directors are in a bit of a quandry. Jesús Dátolo has shown good form in the first half of this year, having been previously on the margins of the Boca first-team squad, and now he’s admired from afar. So much so that Brazilian giants Fluminense want to make an Argentine their next big signing. The Rio de Janeiro club have offered Boca US$4 million for Dátolo, and are prepared to raise their bid. They may have to, because Boca are holding out for closer to US$8 million. The directors of the two clubs are in negotiations. One small detail: Dátolo renewed his contract with Boca just last week.
Basile has a lot of players to call for an insignificant match like this. I don’t think Belarus is a good oponent for Argentina to get fit. It’s simply a matter of money.
The greatest surprise in the squad is Pablo Ledesma, who haven’t been playing very well lately. Basile called him ’cause he’s a player of his confidence and the midfielder had been in a really good form when Basile was in charge of Boca Juniors.
Another thing I want to say is that there are some players that Basile just don’t look at. Cristian Ledesma is playing at a really high level in Lazio, but it don’t seem like he’s getting a call up soon.
As for Datolo, it won’t be a happy decision for Boca to sell him right now. It’d passed a long time before he got to play in this high level and it would be a pity to get rid of him in this moment, with the torunament beginning just a few days ahead.
Has Collocini signed for Newcastle then?
supposedly its Datolo + Maidana to Flu for 10 million.