Maradona’s first competitive squad

In amongst the flurry of goals served up for us by Gimnasia de Jujuy and Rosario Central on Friday night, the fact got obscured (on HEGS at least – sorry) that Diego Maradona had named his first competitive squad as Argentina manager, in preparation for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers at home to Venezuela and away to Bolivia. As Maradona said he would be, Daniel Montenegro is called up, as is Boca Juniors’ young centre back Juan Forlín. And Diego must have been reading Argentines Abroad – he’s called up a player from the Mexican league!

World Cup 2010 qualifiers – Argentina squad to face Venezuela and Bolivia, March – April 2009 (managed by Diego Maradona):

Juan Pablo Carrizo (Lazio, Italy)
Mariano Andújar (Estudiantes de La Plata)
Federico Vilar (Atlante, Mexico)

Javier Zanetti (Internazionale, Italy)
Emiliano Papa (Vélez Sársfield)
Gabriel Heinze (Real Madrid, Spain)
Daniel Díaz (Getafe, Spain)
Walter Samuel (Internazionale)
Juan Forlín (Boca Juniors)
Marcos Angeleri (Estudiantes de La Plata)
Martín Demichelis (Bayern München, Germany)

Javier Mascherano (Liverpool, England)
Fernando Gago (Real Madrid)
Maximiliano Rodríguez (Atlético de Madrid, Spain)
Jonás Gutiérrez (Newcastle United, England)
Sebastián Battaglia (Boca Juniors)
Luis González (Porto, Portugal)
Juan Sebastián Verón (Estudiantes de La Plata)
Ángel Di María (Benfica, Portugal)

Daniel Montenegro (Independiente)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Spain)
Sergio Agüero (Atlético de Madrid)
Carlos Tevez (Manchester United, England)
Lisandro López (Porto)
Diego Milito (Genoa, Italy)
Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli, Italy)

So there’s no call-up this time for Germán Denis, nor for Mauro Zárate or Gonzalo Higuaín just yet. Esteban Cambiasso’s kept out of the midfield. Oh, and somehow, Gabriel Heinze is in the squad again. Will Diego really go through with his promise to give the #10 shirt (or at least the playmaker’s role) to Daniel Montenegro, in the week the Independiente star turns 30? We shall see. Argentina, needing to regain form in the qualifiers, play Venezuela in El Monumental on Saturday, 28th March, and Bolivia in La Paz on Wednesday, 1st April. Let’s hope for no foolish decisions…

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