Messi, Zabaleta named for Argentina
Lionel Messi has been named in a strong 22-man Argentina squad for next month's friendly against Italy in Rome.
Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta, Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano and Real Madrid forward Angel Di Maria were also named by coach Alejandro Sabella.
Surprise additions to the squad included Inter Milan midfielder Ricardo Alvarez and Rubin Kazan defender Cristian Ansaldi, who could be given a chance to press their claims for a World Cup squad during the match at the Stadio Olimpico on August 14.
New Napoli signing Gonzalo Higuain was included in the squad, with Paris Saint-Germain attacker Ezequiel Lavezzi retaining his place in the national side.
Argentina squad: Sergio Romero (Sampdoria), Mariano Andujar (Catania), Oscar Ustari (Almeria); Hugo Campagnaro (Inter Milan), Federico Fernandez (Napoli), Ezequiel Garay (Benfica), Marcos Rojo (Sporting Lisbon), Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle), Cristian Ansaldi (Rubin Kazan), Jose Maria Basanta (Monterrey); Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid), Augusto Fernandez (Celta), Ricardo Alvarez (Inter Milan), Lucas Biglia (Lazio), Erik Lamela (Roma), Ever Banega (Valencia); Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Rodrigo Palacio (Inter Milan), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Paris Saint Germain).