Messi, Mascherano and Higuain missing for Argentina

Lionel Messi
Argentina captain Lionel Messi sits Argentina’s final World Cup qualifiers out.

Lionel Messi heads three withdrawals from the Argentina squad for their final FIFA World Cup qualifiers with Peru and Uruguay.

Barcelona forward Messi, Nou Camp teammate Javier Mascherano and Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain have all pulled out injured.

Messi, 26, was ruled out for three weeks after pulling his thigh in the La Liga win over Almeria.

Defensive player Mascherano, 29, meanwhile injured his hamstring when Barca beat Real Sociedad.

Higuain, 25, has been struggling with a calf problem and missed his club’s recent Champions League defeat at Arsenal.

These absences from Alejandro Sabella’s roster are offset by the fact Argentina have already qualified for the finals next summer.

Four Premier League players have been included: Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini, Tottenham Hotspur attacker Erik Lamela and Manchester City pair Pablo Zabaleta and Sergio Aguero.

Inter Milan quartet Ricky Alvarez, Hugo Campagnaro, Mauro Icardi and Rodrigo Palacio have been rewarded by their good start to the season in Serie A with call-ups.

Former Liverpool winger Maxi Rodriguez is one of six domestic-based players named.

Argentina squad for Peru and Uruguay matches: Sergio Romero, Mariano Andujar, Agustin Orion, Fabricio Coloccini, Pablo Zabaleta, Federico Fernandez, Marcos Rojo, Ezequiel Garay, Hugo Campagnaro, Sebastian Dominguez, Jose Maria Basanta, Cristian Ansaldi, Gabriel Mercado, Maxi Rodriguez, Angel Di Maria, Ever Banega, Lucas Biglia, Rodrigo Brana, Augusto Fernandez, Ricky Alvarez, Erik Lamela, Leandro Somoza, Sergio Aguero, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Rodrigo Palacio, Maurco Icardi.

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