Manchester City center-back Nicolas Otamendi was recalled to the Argentina squad on Friday but as expected, Lionel Messi was left out of the group due to play arch-rivals Brazil in Saudi Arabia.
After Argentina’s disappointing last-16 elimination by eventual winners France from the World Cup in Russia, Messi was granted time off from national team duties for the rest of the year.
He missed friendlies in the United States against Guatemala (3-0) and Colombia (0-0) earlier this month and will watch from afar as interim-coach Lionel Scaloni’s team tackle Iraq on October 11, also in Saudi Arabia, and Brazil five days later in another pair of friendlies.
“I’ve spoken with Messi and we agree that it’s not the right time for his return,” said Scaloni.
Alongside Messi, three other attacking stalwarts have been left out: Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria of Paris Saint-Germain, and AC Milan’s Gonzalo Higuain.
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Inter Milan duo Mauro Icardi and Lautaro Martinez are in, alongside Giovani Lo Celso of PSG and Juventus forward Paulo Dybala.
Goalkeepers: Franco Armani (River Plate), Geronimo Rulli (Real Sociedad/ESP), Sergio Romero (Manchester United/ENG) Defenders: Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City/ENG), Renzo Saravia (Racing), Juan Foyth (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG), Fabricio Bustos (Independiente), German Pezzella (Fiorentina/ITA), Alan Franco (Independiente), Ramiro Funes Mori (Villarreal/ESP), Walter Kannemann (Gremio/BRA), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax/NED) Midfielders: Eduardo Salvio (Benfica/POR), Marcos Acuna (Sporting Lisbon/POR), Rodrigo De Paul (Udinese/ITA), Roberto Pereyra (Watford/ENG), Santiago Ascacibar (Stuttgart/GER), Leandro Paredes (Zenit/RUS), Rodrigo Battaglia (Sporting Lisbon/POR), Maximiliano Meza (Independiente), Giovani Lo Celso (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Franco Cervi (Benfica/POR), Franco Vazquez (Sevilla/ESP), Exequiel Palacios (River Plate) Forwards: Gonzalo Martinez (River Plate), Cristian Pavon (Boca Juniors), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan/ITA), Paulo Dybala (Juventus/ITA), Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan/ITA), Giovanni Simeone (Fiorentina/ITA), Angel Correa (Atletico Madrid/ESP).