Dybala and Icardi not making the World Cup squad will be shocking
The Argentine squad for the friendlies against Italy and Spain was good. It could have been great but for the shocking exclusion of both Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala. The Serie A pair have been electric this season, but there is a high chance they won’t make the 2018 World Cup squad. Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli has stated the duo were omitted from the team because they don’t fit the pattern of how he wants to play. The boss has the right to decide both the style and make-up of his squad, but it is a double-edged blade. If he doesn't get it right, Sampaoli must fall on that sword.
Perhaps it is a fact the Argentine squad has massive squad depth. Or maybe the manager is not up to scratch with the demands of modern day football. Rumours say Barcelona legend Lionel Messi has a hand in the selection process, although many have refuted that, especially Sampaoli.
Messi is said not to be overly enthused by Dybala. The two play in a similar manner. Meanwhile, Icardi is not the most popular squad member due to his falling out with Maxi Lopez, Messi's former teammate at Barcelona.
The 24-year-old Inter striker is dating Lopez's ex-wife. They met when the older player took Icardi under his wing at Sampdoria, putting him up in his home. The trust issue hasn't helped his cause with La Albiceleste.
Dybala has been phenomenal for Juventus again this campaign, returning to his best form after a disappointing mid-season slump. He has scored crucial goals against Lazio, Tottenham, and Udinese recently. He may not start for the national team, but if he plays like Messi, he is the ideal player to have on hand if the Blaugrana maestro is injured.
Ignoring Icardi because of a love triangle is even more baffling. Argentina is a football team, not a social club. Alongside Sergio Aguero and Messi, the Inter talisman is the best striker Argentina can put on the pitch. Yes, better than Gonzalo Higuain.
He has matured at San Siro, scoring goals consistently for the 2010 Champions League winners. Icardi is a traditional number nine. He can use his head, either foot and brings his teammates into play. His last game for the Nerrazurri was a four-goal blitzkrieg against his former team, Samp.
He has netted 22 league goals this season but faces a big ask if he is to start at the summer tournament. He must contend with Higuain and Aguero.
Whether or not Sampaoli admits it, the old guard hold all the power. This is their last, perhaps best, chance to win the Mundial. They are all on the wrong side of 30 to wait on another opportunity.
In 2014, they lost to Germany in the Brazil final. Mario Gotze broke Argentine hearts with a winner late into extra time. The veterans who were there all want redemption. They have no wish to leave it to the next generation. If Messi does have a say in squad selection, he also has support.
That said, pride comes before a fall. Having two more match-winners in the squad would help end 32 years of hurt and anguish.