The highest-profile of the friendlies being played next week during the international break is almost certainly the one in Buenos Aires on Tuesday 7th September, when Argentina will host new world champions Spain in the Estadio Monumental. It’ll be the first time since 1987 that a highly-ranked European side (back then it was West Germany) has visited Buenos Aires, and the first time in 1999 (Lithuania) that any European team at all will have done so. Argentina’s squad are now together in the country, including the two big re-incorporations: Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso. Barcelona defender Gabriel Milito has also talked about his own feelings on re-joining the squad.
They had different approaches to their waits for Sergio Batista’s squad list to be announced, judging by their words to the press on arrival at Ezeiza airport. Cambiasso was just eager to get involved in the national team set-up again; ‘The call-up made me happy. Every time a list is due to be announced, I’m waiting for it and hoping all the time that I’ll be included… it’s also great that the [Argentine] people will get the chance to see a big European team live.’ Zanetti was clearly delighted as well, but hadn’t been quite so expectant. ‘I’m happy and content to be able to be involved in this match, I didn’t expect it. I’m one more player who’s come to join the squad. It’s a great opportunity,’ said the man who is Argentina’s current record holder for international appearances.
Milito has had a different challenge in getting into the selección again. In El Gráfico last month he gave an interview saying that ‘his World Cup’ had been the battle to regain fitness, and that now he’d finally managed that he didn’t mind missing the tournament in South Africa too much in comparison. ‘I couldn’t be happier with this call-up,’ he told the press on Wednesday, though. ‘There was a while when I was doubting whether I was going to return to the national side again, above all because of the amount of time I spent out due to the injury. Of course that makes this an amazing moment, to be here again.’
The side trained all together for the first time on Wednesday, but there were no indications from the practice session as to the likely starting lineup. The (semi) sensibly-priced tickets are all already sold out, with nearly a week still to go.
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Photo taken from ole.clarin.com