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Argentina announces 2022 World Cup squad, Lionel Messi to captain, Lisandro Martinez also on plane to Qatar

Lionel Messi will captain Argentina at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, following confirmation of the 26-man squad.

Lionel Scaloni included Messi in what will be the seven-time Balon d’Or winner’s fifth and likely final World Cup.

The closest the 35-year-old has come to winning the tournament was in 2014 when he played a key role in Argentina’s run to the final in Brazil, where they were eventually beaten by Germany.

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Angel Di Maria, another Argentina veteran, will join Messi in Qatar. The Juventus player scored the only goal in the final of the 2021 Copa America.

Five Premier League players have been included in Scaloni’s squad, with Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez being Argentina’s first-choice goalkeeper.

Lisandro Martinez and Christian Romero of Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur respectively are also included as options for Scaloni’s backline.

Alexis Mac Allister also earns a call up, having impressed with Brighton, the midfielder scoring four goals this season, only one fewer than his total tally last term.

Julian Alvarez, who has scored against Sevilla, Fulham and Chelsea in recent weeks for Manchester City, will be an option for up front.

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Paulo Dybala also makes the cut. The AS Roma forward has been out since October with a thigh issue. However, Jose Mourinho confirmed his return to training on Friday.

With confirmation that Giovani Lo Celso will miss the tournament due to having surgery on his injured hamstring, Scaloni has called up 24-year-old Exequiel Palacios in his place. The Bayer Leverkusen midfielder has made 12 club appearances this season and has 20 caps for his national team.

Other notable inclusions are Benfica’s Nicolas Otamendi and Villarrel’s Juan Foyth.

Argentina have been drawn in Group C at the World Cup alongside Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland.

They will begin their campaign against Saudi Arabia on November 22, before taking on Mexico on November 26 and closing out the group against Poland on November 30.

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Argentina World Cup Squad List

Goalkeepers: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Franco Armani (River Plate) and Geronimo Rulli (Villarreal)

Defenders: Gonzalo Montiel (Sevilla), Nahuel Molina (Atletico Madrid), German Pezzella (Real Betis), Cristian Romero (Tottenham Hotspur), Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica), Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United), Juan Foyth (Villarreal), Nicolas Tagliafico (Olympique Lyonnais), Marcos Acuna (Sevilla)

Midfielders: Leandro Paredes (Juventus), Guido Rodriguez (Real Betis), Enzo Fernandez (Benfica), Rodrigo De Paul (Atletico Madrid), Exequiel Palacios (Bayer Leverkusen), Alejandro Gomez (Sevilla), Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton & Hove Albion)

Forwards: Paulo Dybala (AS Roma), Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain), Angel Di Maria (Juventus), Nicolas Gonzalez (Fiorentina), Joaquin Correa (Inter Milan), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan), Julian Alvarez (Manchester City).

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