[WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN] With star Salvador Cabanas out of the World Cup after being shot in the head in the bathroom of a Mexico City nightclub earlier this year, Paraguay has turned to Lucas Barrios to carry its World Cup hopes. Barrios, who was born in Buenos Aires and plays in Germany for Borussia Dortmund, was among 30 players named on Paraguay's short list for the World Cup.
Barrios, who has scored 18 goals this season for Borussia Dortmund, is the latest player with family ties to Paraguay whom the Albirroja naturalized them.
“I got my Paraguay nationality in March because my mother was born in Paraguay,” he said. “I want to thank everyone who has had confidence in me and I hope to fit it well with my new teammates.”
Midfielders Jonathan Santana and Nestor Ortigoza, both born in Argentina, were also naturalized.
Paraguay's coach Gerardo Martino has no regrets about looking abroad for players.
“It doesn’t seem logical to me to miss out on an important player,” Martino said. “The people will hang me for losing, not for nationalizing [players].”
The 30 players Martino picked hail from clubs in 12 different countries.
Paraguay will play four warmup games before the World Cup.
Goalkeepers: Diego Barreto (Cerro Porteno), Aldo Bobadilla (Independiente Medellin, Colombia), Justo Villar (Valladolid, Spain)
Defenders: Antolin Alcaraz (Brugge, Belgium), Carlos Bonet (Olimpia), Julio Cesar Caceres (Atletico Mineiro, Brazil), Denis Caniza (Leon, Mexico), Paulo Da Silva (Sunderland, England), Julio Manzur (Olimpia, Paraguay), Claudio Morel (Boca Juniors, Argentina), Aureliano Torres (San Lorenzo, Argentina), Dario Veron (UNAM, Mexico)
Midfielders: Sergio Aquino (Libertad), Edgar Barreto (Atalanta, Italy), Marcos Caceres (Racing Club, Argentina), Victor Caceres (Libertad), Marcelo Estigarribia (Newell’s Old Boys, Argentina), Eduardo Ledesma (Lanus, Argentina), Nestor Ortigoza (Argentinos Juniors, Argentina), Cristian Riveros (Cruz Azul, Mexico), Jonathan Santana (Wolfsburg, Germany) Enrique Vera (Liga de Quito, Ecuador)
Forwards: Jorge Achucarro (Newell’s Old Boys, Argentina), Lucas Barrios (Borussia Dortmund, Germany), Edgar Benitez (Pachuca, Mexico), Oscar Cardozo (Benfica, Portugal), Rodolfo Gamarra (Libertad), Osvaldo Martinez (Monterrey, Mexico), Roque Santa Cruz (Manchester City, England), Nelson Haedo Valdez (Borussia Dortmund, Germany).