Top 10 Argentine Players in Europe
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Coach Alejandro Sabella has done a sterling job of forging a complementary and effective team unit in his time in charge of the Argentinian national side.
There are dozens of Argentine footballers who play starring roles for their European clubs, but the coach of the Seleccion has to maintain team harmony and balance when he selects his squads, rather than just picking the players he considers the "best."
In comprising lists such as this one, though, we have no need to abide by such restrictions.
Here we count down the top 10 Argentine players who ply their trade in European football.
Who will take out the prestigious No.1 spot? You might just be surprised.
(Spoiler: You won't be surprised.)
10. Ezequiel Lavezzi
Blessed with both incredible speed and advanced dribbling skills, the PSG man is one of the most lethal attacking weapons in the game.
At the age of 28, Lavezzi is at the peak of his powers right now, and when he is in the mood he can be an absolute nightmare for opposition defenders to contain.
Though not a regular starter, he is a crucial component of Alejandro Sabella's Argentina squad, offering tactical flexibility and an explosive threat off the bench.
9. Fabricio Coloccini
When fully fit, Coloccini is an absolute rock in defense—an elegant, frizzy-haired rock. It is somewhat of a surprise that he has not been utilized more in the national side in recent years.
At 31, he still has some of his best defending in front of him.
8. Erik Lamela
It has become a cause for concern among Argentina fans that the generation of youngsters below Messi and Co. have not yet shown themselves to be up to the same lofty standards as their forebears.
The exception is 21-year-old Roma starlet Erik Lamela, who looks to have all the weapons to become a truly world-class player.
Expect Lamela to play a bit-part role in the 2014 World Cup, but by the time the 2018 tournament rolls around he should be a vital component of La Albicelestes and right near the top of lists like this one.
7. Carlos Tevez
What more can be said about this scrapper from Fuerte Apache who seethes with footballing genius and has a press-pleasing penchant for polemics?
Sabella may not trust him around the Argentina setup, but Tevez is still one of the premier footballers on the planet.
As Jamie Jackson reports in The Guardian, "Carlitos" looks to be on his way to Juventus from Manchester City, a move that could see him revitalized and playing at the giddy heights he is capable of once more.
6. Javier Pastore
This lanky playmaker is a living, breathing tribute to the classic "enganche" role, which is why so many Argentine football enthusiasts want to see him more involved with the national team.
One of the most attractive footballers to watch when is in full flight, Pastore is capable of moments of astonishing brilliance when he has the ball at his feet.
And he will only get better with age.
5. Gonzalo Higuain
It is easy to understand why news of Gonzalo Higuain's imminent departure from Real Madrid got a lot of Europe's biggest clubs very excited.
On the surface his job is relatively simple—lead the attacking line, provide an outlet for teammates and score goals—but there are few players going around at present who do these tasks as well as he does.
Higuain is a vital component of Alejandro Sabella's Argentina side and can be expected to make waves in Brazil in 2014.
4. Javier Mascherano
Whether he is playing as a center-back for Barcelona or in his natural deep-lying midfield role for Argentina, the "Little Chief" never fails to give his all for the cause.
But he is more than just a pit bull. Mascherano is a master of the defensive arts. He is quick on his feet, sharp of mind and able to read the game like few others.
He's surely the first pick on the teamsheet for La Seleccion, after the little fellow who wears No.10.
3. Angel Di Maria
Angel Di Maria has evolved from an skinny lad who was chock full of talent but often frustrating in his execution to a skinny man who rarely fails to produce at the highest level.
He has proved that he has the trust of his managers at club and international level and is a certain starter for both Argentina and Real Madrid.
"Noodle" has speed, skill and discipline, a mix of ingredients that make him an invaluable player to have bombing down the left touchline.
2. Sergio Aguero
With such a wide range of skills, it's easy to see why "El Kun" is one of the highest-rated forwards in world football.
First and foremost, he is a top-class goal sneak, with a striker's ability to find the back of the net no matter what is going on around him.
Add to that his canny short-range passing, intelligent movement, acceleration and wriggly, elusive dribbling, and it makes for a tremendously impressive overall package.
1. Lionel Messi
Far and away the best footballer in the world, such is the gap in ability between Lionel Messi and his peers that he can have a mediocre match by his standards and still stand head and shoulders above everyone else on the pitch.
His goalscoring feats are already legendary, and the scary part is there is so much more to his game than simply finding the back of the net, including playmaking skills on a par with any of the great midfielders of the past 20 years.
He only seems to be getting better, too, so we can all look forward to watching his mind-blowing antics for many years to come.