SoccerTuesday, March 4, 2014
Messi starts training with Argentina
Team is complete ahead of tomorrow’s away friendly against Romania
The Europe-based players led by Lionel Messi arrived yesterday in Bucharest ahead of tomorrow’s friendly match against Romania. Also, Carlos Tevez said it’s up to Sabella to decide if he will play at the World Cup.
BUCHAREST, Romania — Barcelona star Lionel Messi arrived yesterday in Bucharest and now the Argentine national team is complete ahead of tomorrow’s friendly against Romania. This will be the last warm-up match before the shortlist for the World Cup was announced.
The Rosario-born player arrived at 3.50pm (Romania’s time) and was quickly surrounded by fans who wanted to take a picture with him or asked for an autograph.
Messi arrived at the Athenee Palace Hilton Bucarest Hotel alongside with his Barcelona teammate Javier Mascherano. The other Europe-based players also arrived yesterday to complete the 26-player roster like striker Sergio Agüero — who clinched the League Cup title on Sunday with Manchester United — Ezequiel Lavezzi, Federico Fernández, Nicolás Otamendi and Lucas Biglia.
Coach Alejandro Sabella had arrived on Sunday with Argentine-based players Agustín Orion, Fernando Gago, Maximiliano Rodríguez and Ever Banega.
The team trained at the Polivalente Parcul Tineretului indoor pitch in the afternoon while goalkeepers Sergio Romero, Mariano Andújar and Orion did the training session at Dinamo stadium.
Yesterday’s was a light training session but Sabella plans to play soccer today in order to decide the line-up for tomorrow’s friendly match.
It is supposed that he will field the usual squad. The main doubt concerns Agüero, who returned to play on Sunday after a 31-day injury break.
Italian Gianluca Rocchi will be the referee for the match between Argentina and Romania (scheduled at 4pm Argentine time).
Argentina will play other two friendlies before the debut at the World Cup against Bosnia on June 15 in Rio de Janeiro. It will meet Trinidad and Tobago on June 4 at River Plate stadium and Slovenia at Ciudad de La Plata stadium on June 7.
Also yesterday, Carlos Tevez said it’s up to Sabella to decide if he will play at the World Cup.
Since Sabella’s appointment as national team coach in 2011, Tevez has not been called up.
Speaking to Italy’s Sky TV after scoring his league-leading 15th goal in Juventus’ 2-0 win at AC Milan, Tevez said “it’s only Sabella’s choice. I don’t know if it’s a political choice. I think it all depends on Sabella.”
Tevez has often come into conflict with coaches, memorably refusing Roberto Mancini’s order to enter as a substitute in a Champions League match while with Manchester City in September 2011.
Tevez, who led his country to gold at the 2004 Olympics, has scored 13 goals in 62 appearances for Argentina.