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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Lionel Messi headlines Argentina squad for March World Cup qualifiers

Lionel Messi is arguably the best player in the world, but his role within his team has decreased this season.
Lionel Messi will once again lead Argentina's squad for World Cup qualifiers.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi heads up the list of players called up by Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza for CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying matches on March 23 against Chile and March 28 against Bolivia.

The Argentina federation made the announcement on Friday and included Estudiantes' Mariano Andujar and centre-back Marcos Acuna among the 26. 

Messi will be joined by Javier Mascherano, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria, but Inter captain Mauro Icardi did not make the cut, despite calls for his inclusion.

There were no surprises in the squad, despite the uncertainty that reigns in Argentina first division football, which is due to restart this weekend after a work stoppage of more than two months due to lack of funds.

Argentina are outside of the top four automatic qualification spots for the 2018 World Cup. Brazil lead, followed by Uruguay.


Goalkeepers: Mariano Andújar (Estudiantes), Nahuel Guzmán (Tigres) Sergio Romero (Manchester United).

Defenders: Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla), Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Julio Buffarini (Sao Paulo), Facundo Roncaglia (Celta de Vigo), Emmanuel Mas (Trabzonspor), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Mateo Musacchio (Villarreal) Ramiro Funes Mori (Everton).

Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Lucas Biglia (Lazio), Guido Pizarro (Tigres), Ever Banega (Inter), Enzo Pérez (Valencia), Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint Germain), Angel Correa (Atletico de Madrid), Marcos Acuna (Racing).

Forwards: Ezequiel Lavezzi (Hebei Fortune), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Paulo Dybala (Juventus) Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus), Lucas Pratto (Sao Paulo).

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