Barca keep Messi, Mascherano

The Argentine Football Association have confirmed that Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano will not have to join up with the national team.

The duo had until this weekend been included in Alejandro Sabella’s squad for World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Uruguay, despite being in continued recovery from respective thigh injuries sustained last month.

Inter’s Mauro Icardi was a late call-up to the squad and seen as Messi’s replacement, but both he and his Barcelona colleague Mascherano were kept on the list named on the AFA’s website.

However, in reporting a final squad for this month’s closing qualifiers, Sabella has been confirmed by the AFA as ‘disengaging’ the Barca pair, and Napoli forward Gonzalo Higuain.

The news is seen as meaning that Messi and Mascherano will be able to stay and recover from their injuries in Catalonia, working with Barca’s medical staff.

Tags AFA Argentina Messi Mascherano Sabella