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May 20, 2011

Riquelme eyes Copa America call-up

Boca Juniors star Juan Roman Riquelme is hoping to end his three-year international exile and receive a call-up to Sergio Batista's Argentina squad for this summer's Copa America.

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Riquelme, 32, has not played for the Albiceleste since falling out with Diego Maradona in 2008 but after scoring four goals in his past seven games for Boca, the former Villarreal playmaker believes he has done enough to earn an international recall.

"There's five matches left in the championship (Clausura) and I want to do well to see if I can be in the Copa America," Riquelme told ESPN+.

A player whose inclusion in the squad is in doubt is Carlos Tevez after Batista revealed the Manchester City captain is unlikely to feature in his starting line-up at the tournament in July, which is being hosted by Argentina.

"I know Carlos is a great player - he's played in two World Cups, he is experienced - but right now my No. 9 is Messi," Batista said. "Messi is going to play in that position and I have Gonzalo Higuain to give me options."

Batista's recent revelation that Manchester City captain Carlos Tevez is unlikely to feature in his starting XI at the tournament, which Argentina is hosting.

Riquelme expressed his surprise at Batista's comments, but admitted that with such a talented group of players there is always likely to be someone left disappointed.

"I believe that Carlos has had a very good year and he can give alot to the team," Riquelme said. "[Though] It's understood that being the national team manager is complicated.

"There's always one left out. The World Cup is a clear example. Lisandro Lopez was named the best player in France and no one said anything. We are fortunate to have many good players and there's always one left out."

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