On Friday morning, Argentina manager Jorge SAMPAOLI came out with his list of exterior players who will make up a majority of the Argentina squad that faces Uruguay and Venezuela in upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifiers on August 31 and September 5.
Many of the names that constitute the list are not unfamiliar to SAMPAOLI. In addition to having coached them before, either during Argentina’s two friendlies over the summer or during his time at Sevilla, Don Sampa traveled through eight different cities throughout Argentina and Europe to meet with many players who he has an eye on for the national team, both for the present and future.
According to AFA, the new Argentina ring leader visited Rosario, Buenos Aires, Paris, Milan, London, Barcelona, Sevilla, and Madrid. During those visits, he met with 31 Argentinian players, many of which were called up on Friday. There are some intriguing names on the list, including a good amount of fresh faces that hadn’t been even rumored to be considered by Gerardo MARTINO and Edgardo BAUZA for reasons that are unknown.
Here is the list, broken down by position.
Sergio ROMERO (Manchester United)
Nicolás OTAMENDI (Manchester City)
Javier PINOLA (River Plate)
Gino PERUZZI (Boca Juniors)
Juan FOYTH (Estudiantes)
Mateo MUSACCHIO (AC Milan)
Javier MASCHERANO (FC Barcelona)
Gabriel MERCADO (Sevilla)
Federico FAZIO (Roma)
Nicolás PAREJA (Sevilla)
Ever BANEGA (Sevilla)
Manuel LANZINI (West Ham United)
Fernando BELLUSCHI (San Lorenzo)
Emiliano RIGONI (Independiente)
Ignacio FERNÁNDEZ (River Plate)
Enzo PÉREZ (River Plate)
Ángel Di María (PSG)
Giovani Lo Celso (PSG)
Lucas BIGLIA (AC Milan)
Guido PIZARRO (Sevilla)
Augusto FERNÁNDEZ (Atletico Madrid)
Lionel MESSI (FC Barcelona)
Sergio AGÜERO (Manchester City)
Lautaro ACOSTA (Lanús)
Lautaro MARTÍNEZ (Racing)
Javier PASTORE (PSG)
Mauro ICARDI (Inter)
Paulo DYBALA (Juventus)
Gonazlo HIGUAÍN (Juventus)
Diego PEROTTI (Roma)
Joaquín CORREA (Sevilla)
There are some very intriguing names on this list of players SAMPAOLI visited with. RIGONI, MARTÍNEZ and ACOSTA have been three of the best players in Argentina’s Primera División over the past year, and are deserving of some senior team action in the near future. ACOSTA would likely get it first, as he’s a bit older than the other two. RIGONI can play on the wing or at striker, and MARTÍNEZ has proven to be an adept goal-scorer at just 19 years old.
FOYTH and LO CELSO are two other youngsters who are likely being prepped by SAMPAOLI for the future.
If this list is anything to go by, Argentinians can feel comfortable that their national team manager is paying very close attention to any and all players, both domestically and abroad.