Argentina vs Italy team news: Sampaoli selects strong side despite Messi injury

Argentina vs Italy team news: Sampaoli selects strong side despite Messi injury

Team News from the Etihad Stadium prior to Argentina's international friendly with Italy.

Connor Bennett

Lionel Messi is only on the bench for Argentina’s friendly with Italy at the Etihad Stadium and is likely to miss out through injury.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner was said to have been ruled out with an ‘overload’ injury but was named to subs bench by Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli.

Despite the injury to his sides main man, the former Sevilla boss has named an experimental side ahead of the friendly with the clash against the Azzurri.

Former Manchester City man Willy Caballero starts in goal behind a defence including former club teammate Nicolas Otamendi. Current City man Sergio Aguero is sidelined with a knee injury and won’t travel to Madrid for the friendly against Spain.

Following the game against Italy, Aguero will be released back to his club for further treatment to his knee injury.

There are also starts for Fabirico Bustos, Federico Fazio, Giovani Lo Celso and Nicolas Tagliafico.

Everton defender Ramiro Funes Mori, who had been expected to take part in at least one of Argentina’s two friendlies, was not named on the team sheet.

New Italian blood

Italian interim boss Luigi di Biagio has named a strong side for his game in charge of the Azzurri.

Gianluigi Buffon, who has been set to retire from international football, starts in goal and captains di Biagio’s first line-up.

With a number of established stars retired from international football and some missing out, there are chances for new blood like Federico Chiesa, Jorginho and Daniele Rugani.

Full Team News

Argentina: Caballero, Tagliafico, Fazio, Paredes, Biglia, Higuain, Di Maria, Otamendi, Lo Celso, Lanzini, Bustos.

Argentina Subs: Romero, Guzman, Mercado, Acuna, Messi, Mascherano, Perez, Rojo, Correa, Banega, Pavon, Martinez, Perotti.

Italy: Buffon, De Sciglio, Verratti, Insigne, Jorginho, Rugani, Immobile, Parolo, Bonucci, Florenzi, Chiesa.

Italy subs: Donnarumma, Perin, Marco Ferrari, Darmian, Ogbonna, Candreva, Bonaventura, Belotti, Pellegrini, Gagliardini, Zappacosta, Cutrone, Cristante.