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Argentina call up Messi, Di Maria for pre-World Cup friendlies

Star forwards Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria were called up by Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni on Thursday for two friendlies later this month as the Copa America holders prepare for the World Cup in Qatar.

Argentina play Honduras in Miami on September 23 and Jamaica in New York four days later.

After that they will have one more friendly, against the United Arab Emirates in Dubai on November 16, just days before the World Cup begins.

Roma’s Paulo Dybala, Julian Alvarez of Manchester City and Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez have also been called up to the 28-player squad.

The Albiceleste, who are on a historic unbeaten run of 33 matches, begin their World Cup campaign on November 22 against Saudi Arabia in Group C, which also includes Mexico and Poland.

Argentina last won the World Cup in Mexico in 1986, led by the late Diego Maradona, one of the most iconic players in the sport’s history.

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