Argentina hints at post-Messi era in youthful squad

Franco and Valentín Carboni, Alejandro Garnacho, Nicolás Paz, Tiago Geralnik and Luka Romero are playing in youth divisions of European clubs, but they were summoned by Argentina on Monday.

Lionel Messi

Argentina's Lionel Messi in action.   -  Reuters

Argentina's squad for the two final rounds of South American World Cup qualifying shows coach Lionel Scaloni could be thinking about the future without Lionel Messi.

Franco and Valentín Carboni, Alejandro Garnacho, Nicolás Paz, Tiago Geralnik and Luka Romero are playing in youth divisions of European clubs, but they were summoned by Argentina on Monday.

Messi was also picked after missing the last two qualifying rounds this year as he recovered from COVID-19.

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Argentina faces Venezuela in Buenos Aires on March 25, and four days later Ecuador in Guayaquil.

The six youth division players either were born to Argentine families based in Europe or born in Argentina and started their careers abroad.

Argentina has already qualified for the World Cup in Qatar this year.

Goalkeepers: Emiliano Martínez (Aston Villa), Franco Armani (River Plate), Gerónimo Rulli (Villarreal) Juan Musso (Atalanta), Esteban Andrada (Monterrey)

Defenders: Gonzalo Montiel, Marcos Acuña (Sevilla), Nahuel Molina, Nehuén Pérez (Udinese), Cristian Romero (Tottenham), Nicolás Otamendi (Benfica), Juan Foyth (Villareal), Lucas Martínez Quarta (Fiorentina), Germán Pezzella (Betis), Lisandro Martínez, Nicolás Tagliafico (Ajax)

Midfielders: Rodrigo De Paul (Atletico Madrid), Leandro Paredes (Paris Saint-Germain), Giovani Lo Celso, Tiago Geralnik ( (Villarreal), Exequiel Palacios (Bayer Leverkusen), Manuel Lanzini (West Ham), Guido Rodríguez (Betis), Roberto Pereyra (Udinese), Emiliano Buendía (Aston Villa), Alejandro Gómez, Lucas Ocampos (Sevilla), Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton), Nicolás Paz (Real Madrid), Alejandro Garnacho (Manchester United), Franco Carboni, Valentín Carboni (Inter Milan)

Forwards: Lionel Messi, Ángel Di María (Paris Saint-Germain), Lautaro Martínez, Joaquin Correa, Luka Romero (Inter Milan), Nicolás González (Fiorentina), Ángel Correa (Atletico Madrid), Paulo Dybala, Matías Soulé (Juventus), Julián Álvarez (River Plate), Giovanni Simeone (Verona), Lucas Boyé (Elche)

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