Coloccini dropped from Argentina squad as Maradona wields axe
As is the nature of Argentinian legend Diego Maradona, even the most basic of tasks can often end up becoming a news-hogging event.
As was the case yesterday, when simply announcing his final 23-man squad couldn’t pass without incident, after it was reported that the Albiceleste boss accidentally ran over a cameraman’s leg, before insulting him for standing too close to his car.
Maybe it was all a ploy to overshadow another eyebrow-raising squad selection, though the injured cameraman is unlikely to be happy about any such ruse.
Newcastle defender Fabricio Coloccini is another who’ll be wounded at the announcement, after he was one of seven players dropped from Maradona’s provisional World Cup squad. Instead, Ariel Garce of Club Atletico Colon takes Coloccini’s place, the 30-year-old having only won three previous caps.
Maradona has made no attempt to hide the fact that he is keen to give the those plying their trade in Argentina’s Primera Division as much chance of making the team as the high-profile players abroad, but while he has included six domestic-based players, it will still be a shock should many of them feature in his starting XI against Nigeria.
Boca’s veteran striker Martin Palermo will struggle to displace Gonzalo Higuain or Diego Milito at the front of the attack, while Colon keeper Diego Pozo will simply act as understudy to Alkmaar’s Sergio Romero.
Along with Garce, Velez Sarsfield’s Nicolas Otamendi and Estudiantes’ Celemente Rodriguez are also likely to be defensive replacements for their more illustrious teammates.
It leaves just Juan Sebastian Veron of Estudiantes as the only Argentina-based starter, though he’ll only play as many games as his 35-year-old legs allow. Which is where Maradona’s other wild card selection comes in, in the shape of uncapped 20-year-old Javier Pastore.
Pastore played in the unofficial friendly against Catalonia, and clearly impressed his national boss so much that he will be trusted to replace their veteran pass master should he tire. The Palermo youngster has had a great season in Serie A, integral in helping the Italians into a Europa League spot, and a strong performance at the 2010 World Cup could prompt a few more harsh words from the boss to those who questioned his judgement.