5 Little-Known Argentines Who Could Make the World Cup Squad
With world-class stars like Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria and Carlos Tevez holding Argentine passports, the nation hardly lacks global exposure when it comes to international football. But there are plenty of players in or around the squads who do not enjoy quite the same levels of fame as the aforementioned stars.
Little-known, of course, is a subjective term that will vary for all of our readers. To try and impose one simple condition on the men chosen here; if you are not an expert on Argentine football, and you used a search engine to check each player's last club, they are suitable for the list.
With that in mind, here are a quintet of players fighting hard to make the plane to Brazil, even if they do not command too many headlines.
If there is one possible weakness in an otherwise very exciting Argentina squad, it is the defence. The team has a settled back four who are learning well together, but strong doubts still remain over whether, come the World Cup, those chosen will be up to the challenge.
Getafe centre-back Lisandro Lopez is one of the men waiting in the wings, hopeful of getting a call-up to the squad to deputise behind first-choice pair Ezequiel Garay and Federico Fernandez.
The ex-Arsenal de Sarandi star is strong on the floor and imperious in the air, with the added bonus of regularly getting up and scoring from set pieces. The choice for another centre-back looks set to boil down to the 24-year-old or Porto's Nicolas Otamendi, with little to choose between either.
Catania right-back Gino Peruzzi may not be a household name yet, but he has football running in his blood. As a second cousin he can boast none other than Italian goalkeeping great Angelo Peruzzi, and the youngster would love to make as big a splash in world football.
A Copa Libertadores taming of Neymar with Velez Sarsfield in 2012 gave Peruzzi the exposure he needed outside of South America, and while he has not started a great quantity of games with Catania, the 21-year-old is still learning his trade.
With Argentina short on full-back talent, he would be a wild-card choice for the World Cup squad; although coach Alejandro Sabella is a confirmed admirer.
To many in Europe, possibly even in Argentina until around one year ago, the name Jose Maria Basanta would result in many a scratched head and puzzled look being exchanged. Over in Mexico, however, the versatile native of Tres Sargentos is considered one of the best defenders around.
Six years with Monterrey has yielded an impressive haul of trophies for the 30-year-old, who is adept either in the middle or on the left of defence, making him a valuable addition for the Argentina squad. Two league titles and three CONCACAF Champions League titles point to his quality, and he is almost certain to make the trip to Brazil.
At 33 years of age and with a rather ungainly balance around the football pitch, Leandro Somoza would not be everybody's first choice to make the plane alongside the likes of Messi and Aguero. There is no doubt, however, after a handful of call-ups, that coach Sabella is watching the Lanus midfielder.
The former team-mate of Juan Roman Riquelme, both at Villarreal and Boca Juniors, could find a way into the squad due to Fernando Gago's misfortune.
The Xeneize star's knee injury will keep him out for up to a month, right up to the World Cup deadline, per the Buenos Aires Herald. If Sabella does not trust his fitness, Somoza will be among the front-runners to squeeze into the final 23 as a reserve.
As an Inter player, Ricardo "Ricky" Alvarez is perhaps the most familiar out of this list of lower-profile Argentine stars. But even after three years with the Serie A giants, the enterprising winger is still struggling to carve out a regular place in the line-up.
Ricky is on the fringe of the World Cup squad, most likely fated to fight it out with Erik Lamela for the last spot in the Albiceleste midfield. It could go to either man at this point, but Alvarez knows that if he can enjoy a strong finish to the Italian season, it could tip the balance in his favour.