Argentina pick Messi despite injury concerns

The Barcelona star has been called up to the 18-man squad to face Paraguay in World Cup qualifying on September 10

Lionel Messi has been named in the Argentina squad despite the Barcelona star’s current injury concerns, which have left him doubtful for the Liga game against Malaga this weekend.

Alejandro Sabella’s side only have one match in the next round of qualifiers for World Cup 2014 – an away game against Paraguay on September 10.

The Argentine media had questioned whether Messi – who is struggling with bruising to his left thigh after being substituted against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday – would be risked given the country’s strong position in the qualifying table and the fitness issues their captain has suffered in recent months.

However, his name has been included on the 18-man list for the match alongside the likes of Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria and Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero.

Argentina have some notable absentees for the match, with Javier Mascherano, Gonzalo Higuain, Ezequiel Garay and Federico Fernandez all ruled out through suspension and Fernando Gago injured.

The Albiceleste currently sit top of the CONMEBOL qualifying table, having lost just one of their 13 matches in the campaign so far, although they have been held to draws in their last three competitive fixtures.

Their last match was a 2-1 friendly victory over Italy on August 14, in which Ever Banega and Higuain scored the goals.

Full squad:

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

Defenders: Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Hugo Campagnaro (Inter), Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle), Marcos Rojo (Sporting Lisbon), Jose Basanta (Monterrey), Cristian Ansaldi (Zenit)

Midfielders: Ever Banega (Valencia), Lucas Biglia (Lazio), Augusto Fernandez (Celta Vigo), Ángel Di Maria (Real Madrid), Ricardo Alvarez (Inter)

Attackers: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Ezequiel Lavezzi (PSG), Rodrigo Palacio (Inter), Erik Lamela (Roma)

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