Argentina World Cup squad 2022: Messi leads the way as injured Dybala called up

Roma forward has been sidelined since early October but coach Scaloni hopes he will be ready

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Lionel Messi will lead Argentina into what is expected to be his final World Cup at Qatar 2022 after coach Lionel Scaloni named on Friday his 26-man squad, which includes injured forward Paulo Dybala.

Dybala has not played for his club Roma since early October but has been named in the squad as Argentina hope he regains his fitness before their World Cup campaign begins on November 22 against Group C opponents Saudi Arabia.

Messi, 35, will be playing in his fifth World Cup and will be accompanied by fellow veterans Angel Di Maria and Nicolas Otamendi along with fresh faces who helped Argentina win the Copa America title last year.

"They are proud to be called up and wear this jersey, let's hope that you as fans are too. All together," coach Scaloni said in an Instagram video.

Argentina will be without services of Giovani Lo Celso, however, after the midfielder picked up a hamstring injury last month while playing for Villarreal, with Scaloni saying he was "irreplaceable".

Leandro Paredes and Rodrigo De Paul will be crucial in midfield while the defence will be led by centre back Otamendi, who is usually partnered with Manchester United's Lisandro Martinez or Tottenham Hotspur's Cristian Romero.

"There are no words to describe how it feels to hear my name on the final list. Dreams do come true, let's go Argentina," Paredes, who did not make the final cut for the 2018 World Cup, said on Instagram.

Manchester City forward Julian Alvarez, 22, was named in the squad after a stellar year where he scored 18 goals while on loan at Argentine club River Plate before netting seven times in all competitions for City.

Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez, who scored 25 goals last season and has begun this campaign with eight in all competitions, is expected to lead the line.

Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, one of Argentina's heroes at the Copa America last year, will also be making his World Cup debut this year.

Argentina also play Mexico and Poland in Group C.

Argentina squad for 2022 World Cup

Goalkeepers: Emiliano Martinez, Franco Armani, Geronimo Rulli

Defenders: Gonzalo Montiel, Nahuel Molina, German Pezzella, Cristian Romero, Nicolas Otamendi, Lisandro Martinez, Juan Foyth, Nicolas Tagliafico, Marcos Acuna

Midfielders: Leandro Paredes, Guido Rodriguez, Enzo Fernandez, Rodrigo De Paul, Exequiel Palacios, Alejandro Gomez, Alexis Mac Allister

Forwards: Paulo Dybala, Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria, Nicolas Gonzalez, Joaquin Correa, Lautaro Martinez, Julian Alvarez

Updated: November 14, 2022, 9:58 AM