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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala highlight 35-man Argentina World Cup squad

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Lionel Messi and Paulo Dybala highlight Argentina's 35-man preliminary squad for the World Cup this summer.

The Argentine Football Association announced the list of players in contention on Monday. Coach Jorge Sampaoli will trim his squad to a final 23 players next week.

Juventus' Dybala has often been compared to Barcelona superstar Messi as they both play the same position, making it difficult to feature them together on the national team.

Dybala and Inter Milan forward Mauro Icardi are back on the World Cup shortlist after both were left off the Argentina squad for friendlies in March.

Atletico Madrid striker Angel Correa and Independiente defender Fabricio Bustos were the only players called up in March who failed to make the 35 men.

Striker Sergio Aguero and midfielder Lucas Biglia were included despite injuries. Biglia broke two vertebrae in April, missed three AC Milan games, and was injured again on Sunday after an Atalanta player hit him in the operated area.

Lionel Messi and Paulo Dybala

Rodrigo Battaglia of Sporting Lisbon, yet to be capped, and Guido Pizarro of Sevilla were possible substitutes in case Biglia does not fly to Russia.

River Plate goalkeeper Franco Armani, a fan favourite, convinced Sampaoli and was included. Manchester United's Sergio Romero, a starter in the two last World Cups, has not played much in England.

Racing midfielder Ricardo Centurion has been called as a possible substitute for Angel Di Maria because of his speed.

Torino defender Cristian Ansaldi received a spot after Sevilla's Gabriel Mercado was injured. Mercado will be evaluated by Argentina doctors.

Argentina will face Haiti in a friendly on May 29 in Buenos Aires, then travel to Israel on June 9 ahead of the World Cup, where they will face Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria in the group stage.

Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Wilfredo Caballero (Chelsea), Nahuel Guzman (UANL), Franco Armani (River Plate)

Defenders: Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica), Javier Mascherano (Hebei China Fortune), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), German Pezzella (Fiorentina), Federica Fazio (Roma), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United), Ramiro Funes Mori (Everton), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax), Marcos Acuna (Sporting CP), Cristian Ansaldi (Torino)

Midfielders: Manuel Lanzini (West Ham), Ricardo Centurion (Racing), Maximiliano Meza (Indepeniente), Lucas Biglia (Milan), Guido Pizarro (Sevilla), Enzo Perez (River Plate), Ever Banega (Sevilla), Giovani Lo Celso (Paris Saint-Germain), Leandro Paredes (Zenit), Rodrigo Battaglia (Sporting CP), Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain), Cristian Pavon (Boca Juniors), Pablo Perez (Boca Juniors)

Forwards: Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Diego Perotti (Roma), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus), Lautaro Martinez (Racing), Mauro Icardi (Inter)

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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