Road to South AfricaTuesday, May 11, 2010
Maradona reveals pre-selected players for World Cup
Argentine national team coach announced a list of 30 players yesterday from which the final squad of 23 for the World Cup will be picked. It includes nine home-based players, but leaves out experienced players such as Javier Zanetti, Esteban Cambiasso and Fernando Gago.
Diego Maradona disregarded the vast experience of Inter Milan midfielder Esteban Cambiasso and 136-cap record holder Javier Zanetti when he named his 30-man provisional World Cup squad yesterday.
Zanetti, a veteran of the 1998 and 2002 World cups, and Cambiasso, who helped Argentina reach the 2002 quarterfinals, are both key players in the Inter side that reached the Champions League final at the expense of holders Barcelona and are on the point of conquering an Italian cup and league double.
Coach Maradona, Argentina’s former world title-winning captain, also overlooked ball winner Fernando Gago of Real Madrid. On the other hand, he recalled Liverpool’s Maxi Rodríguez, whom he had appeared to have discarded altogether during the qualifiers, and also found room for Newcastle United’s Fabricio Coloccini.
Maradona, who has called up 107 players during his year and a half in charge, sprang a surprise by picking several locally-based players who impressed him in the last friendly, a 4-0 home win over a weak Haiti side last week — Colón defender Ariel Garcé, midfielder Juan Mercier and seven others.
Cambiasso has never played under Maradona although he was called up once during the qualifiers and sat on the bench but he had been part of a media clamour for inclusion due to his fine club form.
Inter central defender Walter Samuel, a veteran of the 2002 finals, is in the squad. Boca Juniors’ Martín Palermo was named, as expected, among seven strikers including the high-scoring European-based Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuaín, Carlos Tevez and Sergio Agüero.
The 30 players:
Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (AZ Alkmaar), Mariano Andujar (Catania), Diego Pozo (Colón).
Defenders: Gabriel Heinze (Olympique Marseille), Martín Demichelis (Bayern Munich), Nicolás Otamendi (Vélez Sarsfield), Walter Samuel (Inter Milan), Juan Insaurralde (Newell’s Old Boys), Clemente Rodríguez (Estudiantes de La Plata), Nicolás Burdisso (AS Roma), Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United), Ariel Garcé (Colón).
Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Liverpool), Jonas Gutiérrez (Newcastle United), Angel Di María (Benfica), Mario Bolatti (Fiorentina), Juan Sebastián Verón, José Sosa (both Estudiantes de La Plata), Javier Pastore (Palermo), Jesús Dátolo (Olympiakos), Juan Mercier (Argentinos Juniors), Sebastián Blanco (Lanús), Maxi Rodríguez (Liverpool).
Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Gonzalo Higuaín (Real Madrid), Carlos Tevez (Manchester City), Sergio Agüero (Atlético Madrid), Diego Milito (Inter Milan), Martín Palermo (Boca Juniors), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli).