[COPA AMERICA COUNTDOWN] Less than a year after leaving the Argentina national team, midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme is back. Riquelme, who led Boca Juniors to the 2007 Libertadores Cup title, has been included in Argentina's squad for the Copa America, where it opens against the USA next Thursday.
Riquelme scored both goals as Boca Juniors beat Gremio, 2-0, on Wednesday to clinch the Libertadores Cup. He joined Boca Juniors on loan from Villarreal, which doesn't want him back. Riquelme said in September that he would not play for Argentina again because the criticism of his performances was affecting his mother's health.
Midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron, who had been recalled by Coach Alfio Basile following an absence of more than two years, was named to the Copa America roster. Also in the Copa squad is veteran Javier Zanetti, who also missed the 2006 World Cup.
Strikers Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez and Hernan Crespo were all included. The one surprise omission was Javier Saviola, Messi's teammate at Barcelona.
Basile will take seven Argentine-based players to the Copa America. At the 2006 World Cup, goalie Roberto Abbondanzieri was the only Argentina player who played for an Argentine club.
Goalkeepers: Roberto Abbondanzieri (Getafe/SPA), Juan Pablo Carrizo (River Plate), Agustin Orion (San Lorenzo).
Defenders: Roberto Ayala (Valencia/SPA), Javier Zanetti (Inter Milan/ITA), Hugo Ibarra (Boca Juniors), Gabriel Milito (Real Zaragoza/SPA), Gabriel Heinze (Manchester United/ENG), Daniel Diaz (Boca Juniors), Nicolas Burdisso (Inter Milan/ITA).
Midfielders: Luis Gonzalez (Porto/POR), Javier Mascherano (Liverpool/ENG), Esteban Cambiasso (Inter Milan/ITA), Fernando Gago (Real Madrid/SPA), Pablo Aimar (Real Zaragoza/SPA), Juan Sebastian Veron (Estudiantes), Juan Roman Riquelme (Boca Juniors).
Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona/SPA), Hernan Crespo (Inter Milan/ITA), Diego Milito (Real Zaragoza/SPA), Carlos Tevez (West Ham United/ENG), Rodrigo Palacio (Boca Juniors).