Monday, November 03, 2008

Welcome, Diego! Now give us your names...

I'm writing this the day before the elections in the United States, but most importantly, 24 hours before Diego MARADONA is officially named the new Argentina manager.

What we knew since last week will take more shape on Tuesday, when Julio GRONDONA is expected to unveil Diego and the greatest player of all time will announce his first squad.

This squad list will only be named to travel to Glasgow to face Scotland at Hampden Park (19 November) and it's worth to mention that Lionel MESSI will miss out this time. We all know that there has been an agreement between FC Barcelona and the AFA to allow him to compete in the last Olympic Games but will force the talented forward to miss this season's remaining friendly matches with Argentina.

Another important note to make is that it's very likely that the list will only contain players that are based in Europe.

The Apertura 2008 tournament will be in the middle of the deciding weeks and Diego and the AFA don't want to hamper the local clubs' squads by taking away their best players just to participatein a friendly match with Argentina.

There are a few names that are guaranteed to be on the list.

Diego publicly said that MASCHERANO is the most important player we've got and he wanted to give him the arm-band. I've read some reports suggesting that MASCHERANO said he is not cut-out to be a captain and he doesn't think he's up for that challenge. Whether those claims are true or not, I don't know.

Sergio AGUERO is also one of Diego's favourite and not only because he is his son-in-law.

There is no secret that Diego loves TEVEZ for his talent and his incredibly big heart. Get Carlitos on your list, my friends.

MARADONA spoke highly of Maxi RODRIGUEZ but unfortunately (this is my opinion) he rates Gabriel HEINZE a lot and I think both of these guys will make it to Scotland.

CARRIZO is a definite yes as surely GAGO, DEMICHELIS, DI MARIA and LAVEZZI will join him too.

What about the rest?

HIGUAIN? A lot of chances.

Diego MILITO? I would be surprised if he is ignored, but Diego will probably lean towards the small guys. An option off the bench? More likely.

ZANETTI and CAMBIASSO? Apparently will not be considered by Diego in the near future.

Mauro ZARATE? A mystery.

Lucho (GONZALEZ) and Licha (LOPEZ)? Probably not this time around.

Central defenders?

GARAY, Daniel DIAZ, COLOCCINI, FAZIO and BURDISSO? FAZIO and maybe GARAY will probably have to wait, while the other three have chances (BURDISSO would even be considered as a starter).

ZABALETA? Very likely to join the team.

What about the back-up midfielders?

Jonas GUTIERREZ (Newcastle United) and José SOSA, of Bayern Munich, could be there.

ROMERO and Leo FRANCO? I'm pretty sure Diego will only take two keepers. CARRIZO is his number one choice and I believe the other one will come out of these two guys. If you ask me, I'd rather have ROMERO. Why? Because there is every chance the substitute keeper will not be called into action and the very young ROMERO could benefit more from the experience of just being around Diego and the team.

A lot has been said about Diego's favourite full-backs and both of them are playing in the Argentine league: Emiliano PAPA (Velez Sarsfield) and Marcos ANGELERI (Estudiantes de La Plata).

But Velez Sarsfield are still in with a shot at the domestic title and Estudiantes are still alive in the Copa Sudamericana (they won the home leg 2-0 over Botafogo and will face them in Rio de Janeiro next).

Luciano MONZON (now playing at Betis) looks like one of the favourites to play as left back in Diego's first game in charge if he decides to test a 4-4-2 instead of his favourite 3-5-2 or 3-4-3.

I expect MONZON to be in the list too.

So, let me clear this mess and organise a proper list. I'm including 24 players in this list because a couple of them are there as part of a Plan B if Diego can't count on some of the local league footballers.

We can check again tomorrow and see how many names did I get right:

Starting with the potential starters:
The rest of the European-based players:
15. Daniel DIAZ
17. SOSA
19. Diego MILITO
20. Gonzalo HIGUAIN
The possible additions from the local league:
21. Juan Roman RIQUELME
22. Juan Sebastián VERON
23. Marcos ANGELERI
24. Emiliano PAPA

In RIQUELME, ANGELERI and VERON's cases, if both Boca Juniors and Estudiantes de La Plata advance to the next round of the Copa Sudamericana, it's highly unlikely (if not impossible) that Diego would be able to take them to Scotland.


Juan y Fer said...

as I said in other article, Argentina has not any problem with the player, because they are excellent, the only problem was the absurd decisions of the coach.
(a blog about sport in English and Español)

Abs said...

I believe there will be many surprises in the list. Wait an see !!
Veron is unlikely to be called again !!

andaman said...

Riquelme played better on Sunday night for Boca, for Pedro.

I like Pareja.

Well, if D's gonna include Veron. I want Caniggia too......Just kidding!!!! Though Cani still looks good and fit, I must say.

Can't wait for the list.

John said...

Can't wait for that list. Hopefully my wish to either ZARATE or CAVENAGHI will be on the list.