FIFA 2018 World Cup: Top 5 players to miss Argentina's 23-man squad
Given the footballing giant that Argentina have historically been, there's almost always competition for places in the squad. Ahead of the 23-man squad announcement for the World Cup too, several big names were under threat of missing out on a coveted spot.
So when manager Jorge Sampaoli finally chose his team yesterday, there were high-profile misses as expected. Even if the Albiceleste don't boast the luxury of talents like France and Belgium, they're stuffed with the very cream of the crop, spearheaded by no one else but Lionel Messi.
And that's enough to see some players get ostracized from the final selections. Here are 5 such players who will miss Argentina's flight to Russia:
#5 Fernando Gago
Injuries have a bad habit of cropping up at the most inopportune times. And the Argentina veteran is among the unfortunate casualty to it. After a spate of serious Achilles injuries in 2016 and 2017 that kept him out of action for a total of 221 days, Gago was hit with another stumbling block in his faltering career. This time it was a cruciate ligament rupture, that sidelined him for 185 days.
The Boca Junior midfielder may not have been an integral part of the team, but he’s been a mainstay nonetheless - he played in 6 of the 7 games in Argentina’s 2014 World Cup and only 5 of the current 23-man squad have more caps under the belt than his 61.
At 32, he’s fast approaching the end of the road and this would’ve been the last chance to appear in a major competition with the Albiceleste. But the recurring injuries and the emergence of younger talents may have signalled the death knell already.