Argentina coach Diego Maradona seems to have taken leave of his senses as he names a provisional 30 man squad for the FIFA World Cup. The big news is the exclusion of Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Zanetti from Internazionale and also left out are Gabriel Milito of FC Barcelona and CF Real Madrid's Fernando Gago. Also omitted are recently named French player of the year Lisandro Lopez, Ever Banega and Lucho Gonzalez. Lucas Barrios, the Dortmund striker, has reacted to continued non-selection by securing a Paraguayan passport and a call-up to Gerardo Martino's squad instead.
Five English based players make the squad, Maxi Rodriguez and Javier Mascherano of Liverpool, the Newcastle Untied pair of Fabricio Coloccini and Jonas Gutierrez and Carlos Tévez of Manchester City. 37-year old Martin Palermo of Boca Juniors is included in a squad which includes SEVEN forwards. Maradona expects to give Lionel Messi the freedom to roam the pitch like he does for his club side. Trouble there is that Maradona doesn't have Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta to pull the strings and the one player capable, Juan Roman Riquelme, simply doesn't get on with the boss or his favourite player, Palermo.
Just as intriguing as the players absent from the list are some of those selected. In using almost 90 players during qualification, Maradona singularly failed to pick Walter Samuel. And now he's in the squad. It's mystifying.
The squad in full:
Argentina squad: Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (AZ, Netherlands), Mariano Andujar (Catania, Italy), Diego Pozo (Colón, Argentina)
Defenders: Nicolas Burdisso (Internazionale, Italy), Martin Demichelis (Bayern Munich, Germany), Walter Samuel (Internazionale, Italy), Gabriel Heinze (Olympique Marseille, France), Nicolas Otamendi (Vélez Sársfield, Argentina), Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United, England), Juan Manuel Insaurralde (Newell's Old Boys, Argentina), Clemente Rodriguez (Estudiantes, Argentina), Ariel Garce (Colón, Argentina)
Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Liverpool, England), Sebastian Blanco (Lanús, Argentina), Juan Sebastian Veron (Estudiantes, Argentina), Jesus Datolo (Olympiacos, Greece), Jose Sosa (Estudiantes, Argentina), Maximiliano Rodriguez (Liverpool, England), Mario Bolatti (Fiorentina, Italy), Juan Mercier (Argentinos Juniors, Argentina), Angel Di Maria (Benfica, Portugal), Jonas Gutierrez (Newcastle United, England), Javier Pastore (Palermo, Italy)
Forwards: Sergio Aguero (Atlético Madrid, Spain), Diego Milito (Internazionale. Italy), Martin Palermo (Boca Juniors, Argentina), Carlos Tevez (Manchester City, England), Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid, Spain), Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Spain), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli, Italy).
This squad needs to be reduced to 23 players by 1st June.