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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 4 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Sep 27, 2006

Crespo, Ayala and Heinze return to Argentina squad

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 27 (Reuters) - World Cup stalwarts Hernan Crespo, Roberto Ayala and Gabriel Heinze have been recalled by Argentina for their friendly international against Spain in Murcia next month.

Ayala, who scored when Argentina drew 1-1 with hosts Germany in their World Cup quarter-final in Berlin in June before they went out on penalties, is set to equal the national caps record of 106 held by retired former captain Diego Simeone.

The trio were not match fit earlier in the month with Crespo moving to Inter Milan from Chelsea, Ayala in conflict with his club Valencia and Manchester United's Heinze nursing an injury.

Midfielder Pablo Aimar, who also missed coach Alfio Basile's first match in charge, a 3-0 defeat by arch-rivals Brazil in London on Sept. 3, is recalled possibly with a view to taking on Juan Roman Riquelme's playmaker role.

Riquelme, who pulled the strings in Argentina's impressive World Cup team, announced his retirement from international football for family reasons two weeks ago after a muted performance in the Brazil friendly.

Villarreal defender Rodolfo Arruabarrena is recalled for the first time in six years. He last played for Argentina in a 0-0 draw with England at Wembley in February 2000.

Basile, who took the reins from Jose Pekerman after the World Cup for his second spell in charge, chose 21 players based in Europe only because Argentine clubs will be involved in Copa Sudamericana matches at the time of the friendly.

Spain have a free date on Oct. 11 after a Euro 2008 qualifier away against Sweden in Group F on Oct. 7.

Goalkeepers: Roberto Abbondanzieri (Getafe), Leonardo Franco (Atletico Madrid)

Defenders: Fabricio Coloccini (Deportivo Coruna), Gabriel Heinze (Manchester United), Roberto Ayala (Valencia), Gabriel Milito, Leonardo Ponzio (both Real Zaragoza), Rodolfo Arruabarrena (Villarreal)

Midfielders: Pablo Zabaleta (Espanyol), Maxi Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid), Pablo Aimar (Real Zaragoza), Leandro Somoza (Villarreal), Javier Mascherano (West Ham United), Luis Gonzalez (Porto), Federico Insua (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Daniel Bilos (Saint Etienne)

Forwards: Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid), Lionel Messi, Javier Saviola (Barcelona), Carlos Tevez (West Ham United), Hernan Crespo (Inter Milan)