Neymar will not be joining Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi in Australia this June. (REUTERS: Albert Gea)
Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest footballer of the modern era, has been named to captain Argentina in its marquee match against rival Brazil at the MCG in June.
The Barcelona superstar has been named by incoming coach Jorge Sampaoli alongside a plethora of Argentinian stars, thought Brazil’s main man and Messi’s club team-mate Neymar has been left out of its touring squad.
Brazil coach Tite has opted to give Neymar — and fellow regulars Marquinhos, Miranda, Marcelo and Dani Alves — a much-needed summer break, sitting them out of friendlies in Australia.
But Australian football fans hoping to see the best Brazilian talent should not despair, as the squad still contains the likes of David Luiz, Willian, Philippe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus, Douglas Costa and Thiago Silva.
Argentina’s squad is equally as star-studded, with Messi of course the standout name.
Paulo Dybala, Angel Di Maria and Gonzalo Higuian are established attacking threats, while Mauro Icardi and Manuel Lanzini have earned call-ups with their excellent seasons with Inter Milan and West Ham respectively.
The two South American giants face off at the MCG on June 9, before Brazil prepares for a match against the Socceroos and Argentina heads out to Singapore for a match against its national team.
Argentina has struggled to hit its best form in its recent World Cup qualifiers, currently sitting fifth in the South American group topped by Brazil.