Huge question marks may remain over Argentina’s defence but when Jorge Sampaoli can afford to leave out Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala, there is no doubting La Albiceleste’s firepower. Three members of a potential attack for this month’s friendlies provided timely reminders of their talents this weekend.

Lionel Messi

Another weekend and another milestone for Lionel Messi as the Argentina captain scored his 600th career goal with the winner against Atletico Madrid.

For a third La Liga game running, Messi struck with a perfectly executed free-kick and with the victory sent Barcelona eight points clear of Atletico with eleven games remaining.

539 goals for Barca and another 61 for Argentina, both club and country will be hoping that the world’s best player adds plenty of more to that tally before the end of July.

Leading the way in goals and assists has put Barcelona on the brink of the league title, a Copa del Rey final looms and the Blaugrana are still going in the Champions League before Argentina head to Russia for the World Cup.

Angel Di Maria

Neymar’s injury was supposed to signal the end of Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League hopes for another year but the form of Angel Di Maria in Unai Emery’s still talented side mean Real Madrid don’t have their last 16 tie won just yet.

PSG maintained their 14-point lead at the top of Ligue 1 on Saturday with victory over Troyes and Di Maria scored his 17th of the season.

After looking bound for the exit door at the Parc des Princes, Di Maria has been sensational in 2018 and in fifteen appearances chalked up thirteen goals and nine assists.

As a player so often maligned for his lack of thinking and end-product, Di Maria could barely be in better form and PSG and Argentina will be hoping to profit.

Lautaro Martinez

With no Icardi or Dybala in the squad, Argentina look a little light in attack but while a European audience might be scratching their heads, Jorge Sampaoli has become something of a regular at Racing Club’s historic Cilindro.

The reason, Lautaro Martinez.

Having already watched two hat-tricks from the young striker, within five minutes the Argentina manager was applauding another goal as Velez Sarsfield foolishly left Martinez free at a corner to head Racing in front.

Sampaoli is almost certain to add Martinez to his squad when the domestic players are added and Argentina will be adding one of the most exciting talents in world football.

Deceptively quick, as strong as his nickname of El Toro (the Bull) suggests, technically gifted enough to contribute in build-up and a natural born scorer of all types of goals, Martinez is all set for a big money move to Inter.

With eleven goals in his last ten matches, Racing are on a five-match winning streak and Argentina might have their surprise package for Russia.



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