On the 14th November Diego Maradona’s Argentina will face Spain in Atlético de Madrid’s Estadio Vicente Calderón in a friendly as the first part of their preparation for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. On Friday, Maradona named his squad for the match, which will consist solely of players playing for clubs outside Argentina, and will include both Maxi Rodríguez and Sergio Agüero, who play their club football for Atlético. Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez, Liverpool’s Javier Mascherano and the in-form Benfica pair Ángel Di María and Pablo Aimar (but still not Javier Saviola) are also included, as for the first time under Maradona is Internazionale’s Esteban Cambiasso.
Argentina squad for Spain friendly, 14th November 2009:
Sergio Romero (AZ Alkmaar, Netherlands)
Mariando Andújar (Catania, Italy)
Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United, England)
Martín Demichelis (Bayern München, Germany)
Gabriel Heinze (Olympique Marseilles, France)
Nicolás Pareja (Espanyol, Spain)
Cristian Ansaldi (Rubin Kazan, Russia)
Jonás Gutiérrez (Newcastle United)
Maximiliano Rodríguez (Atlético de Madrid, Spain)
Javier Mascherano (Liverpool, England)
Fernando Gago (Real Madrid, Spain)
Esteban Cambiasso (Internazionale, Italy)
Ángel Di María (Benfica, Portugal)
Pablo Aimar (Benfica)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Spain)
Gonzalo Higuaín (Real Madrid)
Carlos Tevez (Manchester City, England)
Sergio Agüero (Atlético de Madrid)
Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli, Italy)
Fernando Gago is pencilled in for a chat with Maradona prior to the match in which the exact reasons for Maradona’s dropping him from the squad should be outlined (most players wouldn’t need it pointing out to them that they’ve been playing dreadfully, but this is Fernando Gago we’re talking about). Jonás Gutiérrez and Fabricio Coloccini are still in the squad on the back of their performances in the English second division.
The strangest name on the list is Rubin Kazan full back Cristian Ansaldi, formerly of Newell’s Old Boys, who can play on either side of the defence. He’s a direct replacement for Pablo Zabaleta after the Manchester City player’s injury, but Ansaldi’s inclusion only further underlines the fact that Javier Zanetti isn’t in the squad. Ansaldo, 23, has some very big boots to fill.