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May 24, 2013

Messi included in Argentina squad

Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella has called up Lionel Messi for the nation's June World Cup qualifiers despite the Barcelona star being sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Messi has been missing with the injury for most of the month of May and could miss the Spanish champions' last game of the season against Malaga.

But that has not deterred Sabella from naming the 25-year-old in his 23-man squad for the qualifiers against Colombia (June 7) and Ecuador (June 11).

Argentina also face Guatemala in a friendly on June 14.

Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini has been recalled while Lucas Biglia is named for the first time since last September.

However, Liverpool midfielder Maxi Rodriguez and Benfica forward Nicolas Gaitan both miss out.

Argentina lead South American qualifying with 24 points, four points better than Ecuador and five ahead of third-placed Colombia. However, both those countries have a game in hand.

Argentina squad:

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

Defenders: Jose Basanta (Monterrey), Hugo Campagnaro (Napoli), Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United), Federico Fernandez (Getafe), Ezequiel Garay (Benfica), Marcos Rojo (Sporting), Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Ever Banega (Valencia), Lucas Biglia (Anderlecht), Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid), Augusto Fernandez (Celta Vigo), Pablo Guinazu (Libertad), Erik Lamela (Roma), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Walter Montillo (Santos), Jose Sosa (Metalist)

Forwards: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Gonzalo Higuian (Real Madrid), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Paris Saint-Germain), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Rodrigo Palacio (Inter)

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