Real Madrid
Atletico Madrid
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details

Are Argentina's teams at a disadvantage?

Copa Libertadores

Argentina rebuilding job begins with Scaloni and Aimar


Messi dependence hurting Argentina - Veron


Messi, Ronaldo comments clarified by Simeone

Spanish Primera DivisiĆ³n

AFA need Messi for financial reasons - Tebas


No talks over new Argentina coach - AFA

FIFA World Cup

Marcos Rojo: Returning to the Argentina squad 'is what I want most'

Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo is targeting a return to the Argentina squad for the 2018 World Cup.

Rojo was sidelined in April with a cruciate ligament injury but is playing again and took a step closer to a first-team return when completing 45 minutes for United's under-23s on Wednesday.

After the game, Rojo posted a message on his Instagram account thanking his family and the club. He wrote: "At last finally the day came. Happy to have this feeling of playing on the pitch again. Now I continue working."

The 27-year-old had been expected to fully recover by September but his rehabilitation took longer than expected.

He told TyC Sports: "I feel I've lost time in the six months I've been out. But I'm very eager to get back. First I have to regain a starting place at United and do well in order to return to the national team, which is what I want most."

Rojo, who has earned 52 caps for Argentina and started in the 2014 World Cup final defeat against Germany, last featured for the Albiceleste in a 2-0 loss at Bolivia in a World Cup qualifier on March 28. He has yet to play under coach Jorge Sampaoli, who was handed the reins on June 1 as a replacement for sacked Edgardo Bauza.

Marcos Rojo has won 52 caps for Argentina.

Rojo said it was difficult to watch Argentina's final four World Cup qualifiers from afar. Argentina secured themselves a place in next year's tournament in Russia in their final qualifier, a 3-1 win at Ecuador on Oct. 10, with captain Lionel Messi scoring a hat trick.

"I suffered a lot watching the final qualifiers," Rojo said. "It was crazy but luckily Leo [Messi] came through for us and took us to the World Cup. I still feel part of this group, of the national team.

"I haven't spoken to the coach and I can't say whether or not I'm going to be part of the World Cup group. But I'm eager to get back, prove to the coach that I can do it.

"I know I have to make an effort to be considered for the national team and that motivates me. Hopefully, I will have one or two games where the coach can see me and I can prove to him that I can do it. He would then have to make a decision."

In the meantime, Rojo is hoping to be included in United's first-team squad for Saturday's home game against Newcastle.

"The coach [Jose Mourinho] will take a decision this weekend whether to put me in the squad and have me on the bench," he said. "He may wait until next week's Champions League game [at Basel]."

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.


Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.