New Argentina manager Gerardo Martino insisted he has no problems with Carlos Tevez, but still the Juventus striker can’t get into the team.
Despite scoring 19 Serie A goals last year and already bagging two in three matches in the new season, Tevez was left off the roster that boasts all the big names despite just friendlies on the upcoming docket.
Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, and Sergio Aguero were the three strikers Martino selected ahead of the 33-year-old Tevez, who hasn’t played for the national team since 2011.
“When I came here, I was asked if there were any problems with any player and I said no and from there are the conditions to consider anyone,” Martino told ESPN.
In fact, Martino even said the player is himself aware of what he must do. “I am not going to say if he is or is not in the next call-up,” Martino said. “But what does need to be said is what Tévez himself declared: ‘I have to work hard on the pitch to win a place,’ and he is undoubtedly doing very well.”
The 52-year-old manager took over for Alejandro Sabella after the World Cup, ending a three-year tenure in which he never picked Tevez for the national roster.
Tevez surely would like to redeem himself, with his most recent national call-up still leaving a sour taste in his and everyone’s mouths. He was the only Argentinian to miss a penalty in the 2011 Copa America quarterfinal against Uruguay, and ultimately proved the losing miss.
Serie A players found it hard to get in the squad, as Inter striker Mauro Icardi was challenged by Martino to prove he’s fully focused on the game before he can return to the squad. The 21-year-old has been engrossed in controversy involving his wife, who was the wife of former teammate Maxi Lopez.
Martino said Icardi needs to focus on “purely sporting terms” and when asked about Icardi’s highly publicized personal affairs, he said, “I think that I do not have to get into things that are not applicable.”
One man who did earn a return is PSG midfielder Javier Pastore. The 25-year-old has 13 appearances for the national team, and was called back up despite PSG’s rough start to the domestic season. Pastore has two assists in four appearances so far.
Argentina has friendlies against Hong Kong and Brazil in the October international break.
The full Argentina squad:
Goalkeepers: Nahuel Guzmán, Sergio Romero.
Defenders: Santiago Vergini, Mateo Musacchio, Pablo Zabaleta, Martín Demichelis, Marcos Rojo, Federico Fernández.
Midfielders: Javier Mascherano, Roberto Pereyra, Lucas Biglia, Javier Pastore, Angel Di María, Erik Lamela, Enzo Pérez, Nicolás Gaitán.
Strikers: Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuaín, Sergio Agüero.