Barcelona star Lionel Messi was left out of the first post-World Cup Argentina squad announced today ahead of four upcoming friendlies.

The move was widely expected following media reports earlier in the week claiming the five-time Ballon d’Or winner had asked to be excused from the country’s four remaining friendlies in 2018.

Also absent from interim coach Lionel Scaloni’s squad are Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria of Paris Saint-Germain and new AC Milan loan signing Gonzalo Higuain.