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Rediff.com  » Sports » Argentina recall Riquelme, Veron, name 2 squads

Argentina recall Riquelme, Veron, name 2 squads

August 19, 2011 10:14 IST

Juan Roman Riquelme and Juan Sebastian Veron were recalled by Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella on Thursday in a squad of home-based players to prepare for two friendlies against arch-rivals Brazil next month.

Sabella named another squad made up of European-based players for matches in Asia, leaving out controversial striker Carlos Tevez, but recalling 2006 World Cup midfielder Lucho Gonzalez and 2010 defenders Jonas Gutierrez, Martin Demichelis and Nicolas Otamendi.

Juan Roman RiquelmeThe 26-man squad of exiles does include Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero among the strikers.

Riquelme, one of the outstanding players of the 2006 World Cup, last played for Argentina three years ago after refusing to play under Diego Maradona while Veron has not played for Argentina since the 2010 finals.

Sabella was appointed two weeks ago in succession to Sergio Batista, whose year in the job since taking over from Maradona ended after the Copa America in which Argentina lost on penalties to Uruguay in the quarter-finals.

He has little time in which to forge one squad for Argentina's opening 2014 World Cup qualifiers in October. They are at home to Chile on Oct. 7 and visit Copa America semi-finalists Venezuela four days later.

Olympique Marseille's Gonzalez, highly rated in Europe, was overlooked by both Maradona and Batista, while another French-based player, Lyon striker Lisandro Lopez is also recalled after a long absence, while Diego Milito is dropped.

The home-based squad contains six players each from Argentine champions Velez Sarsfield and Sabella's former club Estudiantes, and four each from Riquelme's team Boca Juniors and Racing Club.

Among the most internationally experienced players in the local squad apart from Veron and Riquelme are Velez left back Emiliano Papa and Boca's utility defender Clemente Rodriguez, a member of Maradona's 2010 World Cup squad.

Argentina's European-based team will play Venezuela in Calcutta on Sept. 2 and Nigeria in Dhaka four days later.

The home-based team will meet Brazil, who will pick their side from just locally-based players, at home on September 14 and away two weeks later.

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