After a lot of speculation and minutes after his Boca Juniors team defeated Independiente 1-0, Alfio BASILE has finally delivered his first list of players for Argentina’s next Saturday’s friendly match against Brazil in London.
Juan Román RIQUELME
Very few surprises, some comebacks and only one player competing in Argentina (Hugo IBARRA).
Javier ZANETTI is ignored once again and his future with the Albiceleste looks complicated (to say the least). COCO preferred to take IBARRA to play right back (he is an impressive player, I must say) and with this sign I can’t see ZANETTI coming back to our national team if IBARRA does well.
One ray of hope for Javier would be the fact that there is only one player competing in Italy on this list (Walter SAMUEL) and fitness is a worry for COCO because the Italian league is far from the starting point.
Juan Pablo SORIN is another of those historic players being ignored by COCO. In his case, the fact that he is yet to find a club to play for this season might have an influence on BASILE’s decision. Same thing happens with SAVIOLA. I’m sure both players could be on COCO’s plans in the future if they get a good first team run anywhere.
Walter SAMUEL makes a surprising return after being ignored by PEKERMAN before and during the World Cup.
Another couple of comeback kids are Clemente RODRIGUEZ (used to play with BIELSA) and Federico INSUA (has a couple of caps in the past).
Juan Roman RIQUELME gets the call and he will again become the play-maker. I don’t think, however, that he is going to be untouchable as he was for PEKERMAN.
Fabricio FUENTES used to play for Velez Sarsfield and now he does it for Atlas, Mexico. He is a tough central defender with good heading skills and leadership. He only played one friendly when BIELSA was Argentina’s manager.
Knowing BASILE this next player is hardly a surprise. He had him last couple of seasons with Boca and was one of his key players. Now he plays for Saint Ettiene in France and will join Argentina only because he refused to play for Croatia before the last World Cup when he was tempted by their manager because he holds a Croatian passport. We are talking about Daniel BILOS. A former very tall centre forward who now plays in midfield. Is good on the ball and very fast.
If he sees some action, it’ll represent his absolute international debut. We are talking about Leandro SOMOZA (25 years old). Recent signing for Villarreal, he is a fighting midfielder who plays with a lot of heart and commitment. He runs behind MASCHERANO and GAGO in the fight for the center midfielder role, but apparentely and judging by the looks of this list, he is before Martin DEMICHELIS in the pecking order.
The future is bright!
And the future is here! Lionel MESSI, Carlos TEVEZ and Sergio AGÜERO will be the main attractions in Argentina for years to come. BASILE has decided to used them from the start and that’s the reason why I think this national team can be a joy to watch.
There are also votes of confidence for Javier MASCHERANO
A good core to surround the stars
And in some cases, these core players can also be called stars.
Having Maxi RODRIGUEZ is a luxury for any team in the World. Lucho GONZALEZ and Gabriel MILITO are also very important footballers and it is a good thing to see them staying put with a change of manager.
Provided they are all travelling to London with their respective clubs permissions, I think the most probable starting eleven is the following:
Hugo IBARRA (right back)
Gabriel MILITO (central defender)
Walter SAMUEL (central defender)
Clemente RODRIGUEZ (left back)
Javier MASCHERANO (central midfielder
Maxi RODRIGUEZ (right hand side midfielder)
Federico INSUA (left hand side midfielder)
Juan Román RIQUELME (just behind the 2 strikers as a play-maker)
Let’s discuss about this list and see what happens in the week before that exciting friendly against Brazil.