Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has been left out of the Argentina squad for the upcoming friendlies against Guatemala and fellow South American side Colombia.
His omission was widely expected after reports claimed that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner requested for him to be excused from the rest of the team’s games in 2018.
Apart from the aforementioned games scheduled to take place in the United States next month, Argentina will also play two more friendlies before the end of the year.
The Guatemala clash is the first game for the two-time world champions since the disappointing exit to France at the recently concluded FIFA World Cup tournament in Russia.
They were beaten 4-3 by eventual champions France in the round of 16.
Apart from Messi, the trio of Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Gonzalo Higuain (AC Milan) and Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint Germain) were also missing on the 29-man squad for the four friendlies.
The squad released by interim head coach Lionel Scaloni includes 3 goalkeepers, 10 defenders, 10 midfielders and 6 attackers.
Notable inclusions include Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi, who was controversially left out of the squad to Russia by former head coach Jorge Sampaoli and first-choice goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who missed out of the tournament because of an injury.
Goalkeepers: Franco Armani (River Plate), Geronimo Rulli (Real Sociedad, ESP), Sergio Romero (Manchester United, ENG).
Defenders: Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla, ESP), Fabricio Bustos (Independiente, German Pezzella (Fiorentina, ITA), Alan Franco (Independiente), Ramiro Funes Mori (Villarreal, ESP), Walter Kannemann (Gremio, BRA), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax, NED), Marcos Acuna (Sporting Lisbon, POR), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica, POR), Leonel Di Placido (Lanus).
Midfielders: Santiago Ascacibar (Stuttgart, GER), Leandro Paredes (Zenit, RUS), Rodrigo Battaglia (Sporting Lisbon, POR), Maximiliano Meza (Independiente), Giovani Lo Celso (PSG, FRA), Gonzalo Martinez (River Plate), Franco Cervi (Benfica, POR), Franco Vazquez (Sevilla, ESP), Matias Vargas (Velez), Exequiel Palacios (River Plate).
Forwards: Cristian Pavon (Boca Juniors), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan, ITA), Paulo Dybala (Juventus, ITA), Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan, ITA), Giovanni Simeone (Fiorentina, ITA), Angel Correa (Atletico Madrid, EPA).