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Injured Messi called up by Argentina

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has been called up to Argentina’s FIFA World Cup qualifying squad despite being injured.

Argentina host Colombia on June 7 then travel to play Ecuador four days later as they look to secure a berth at the showcase event in Brazil next year, before visiting Guatemala for a friendly on June 14.

Messi has been named in the squad, but may be unlikely to play, as a hamstring injury has kept him out of action for much of May, and could yet rule him out of Barca’s final league fixtures against Espanyol and Malaga.

Should Messi withdraw, coach Alejandro Sabella will have plenty of viable alternatives, with Real Madrid star Gonzalo Higuain, Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero and Paris Saint-Germain’s Ezequiel Lavezzi all picked.

Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini returns to the national team set-up, while Lucas Biglia is named for the first time September 2012.

One conspicuous absentee is Benfica forward Nicolas Gaitan, though the latter’s club team-mate Ezequiel Garay has been included.

Argentina are top of the South American qualification group with 11 games played and seven to go, four points ahead of second-placed Ecuador.

Argentina squad:

Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Sampdoria), Mariano Andujar (Catania)

Defenders: Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United), Marcos Rojo (Sporting Lisbon), Ezequiel Garay (Benfica), Federico Fernandez (Getafe), Hugo Campagnaro (Napoli), Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Jose Basanta (Monterrey)

Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid), Ever Banega (Valencia), Augusto Fernandez (Celta Vigo), Jose Sosa (Metalist Kharkiv), Lucas Biglia (Anderlecht), Pablo Guinazu (Libertad), Walter Montillo (Santos), Erik Lamela (Roma)

Forwards: Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Rodrigo Palacio (Inter Milan), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Paris St Germain)

Fri 24 May, 2013
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