Tevez, Aguero absent from Argentine team

Forwards Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero have been left off an

Argentina squad for friendlies later this month against the United

States and Costa Rica.

Coach Sergio Batista also excluded Tevez and Aguero from a team

that defeated Portugal 2-1 last month, preferring to try younger

players ahead of the Copa America – the continental championship –

later this year. In the case of Tevez, however, Argentina officials

were also critical he bowed out of a friendly late last year

against Brazil.

Reports have also suggested Tevez, who plays for Manchester

City, is not comfortable on the bench in the role as a backup.

Star forward Lionel Messi of Spanish club Barcelona was selected

to the squad Friday, along with experienced players Javier Zanetti,

Javier Mascherano and Esteban Cambiasso.

Argentina faces the Untied States on March 26 in East

Rutherford, N.J., and plays Costa Rica on March 29 in San Jose.


Goalkeepers: Mariano Andujar (Catania), Adrian Gabbarini

(Independiente, Argentina), Sergio Romero (AZ Alkmaar).

Defenders: Javier Zanetti (Inter Milan), Pablo Zabaleta

(Manchester City), Ezequiel Garay (Real Madrid), Gabriel Milito

(Barcelona), Nicolas Otamendi (F.C. Porto), Federico Fazio

(Sevilla), Nicolas Burdisso (Roma), Marcos Rojo (Spartak


Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Mario Bolatti

(Internacional, Brazil), Ever Banega (Valencia), Fernando Belluschi

(F.C. Porto), Esteban Cambiasso (Inter Milan), Lucas Biglia

(Anderlecht), Javier Pastore (Palermo).

Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli),

Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid), Nicolas Gaitan (Benfica), Jose Sosa

(Napoli), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica).