Barcelona star Lionel Messi will be part of an Argentina squad to face Italy in a friendly in Rome next month to be watched by Pope Francis, coach Alejandro Sabella has announced.
The four-time World Player of the Year is among the 22-strong squad picked by Sabella on Tuesday night to play in the match on August 14.
Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires and a lifelong supporter of Argentinian top flight club San Lorenzo.
Argentina squad to face Italy in Rome on August 14:
Goalkeeper: Sergio Romero (Sampdoria/ITA), Oscar Ustari (Almería/ESP), Mariano Andujar (Catania/ITA)
Defenders: Hugo Campagnaro (Inter Milan/ITA), Federico Fernandez (Napoli/ITA), Ezequiel Garay (Benfica/POR), Marcos Rojo (Sporting Lisbon/POR), Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City/ENG), Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United/ENG), Cristian Ansaldi (Rubin Kazan/RUS), José Basanta (Monterrey/MEX)
Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Barcelona/ESP), Ever Banega (Valencia/ESP), Augusto Fernandez (Celta Vigo/ESP), Ricardo Alvarez (Inter Milan/ITA), Lucas Biglia (Lazio/ITA), Erik Lamela (Roma/ITA).
Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona/ESP), Angel Di María (Real Madrid/ESP), Rodrigo Palacio (Inter Milan/ITA), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli/ITA), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA)AFP