Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni says Mauro Icardi remains part of his plans and he will consider recalling the Paris Saint-Germain striker if he can maintain his goalscoring form.
Icardi has not featured for Argentina since scoring in last November’s 2-1 friendly win against Mexico and is not part of their latest squad for the friendlies with Brazil and Uruguay.
The 26-year-old was overlooked for Copa America selection earlier this year after a turbulent campaign with Inter that saw him stripped of the captaincy amid a breakdown in contract talks.
However, Icardi has scored nine goals in 10 matches since joining PSG on loan in September and is knocking on the door for a return to the international stage.
“He is a player we have in mind,” Scaloni said at a news conference ahead of Friday’s friendly with Brazil in Saudi Arabia.
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“He is playing again, picking up pace after not playing at the end of last season.
“He is on our agenda, and not because other strikers are not doing well. At any time he can return. The doors are always open for the best.”
Lionel Messi is back in Argentina’s squad for their friendly double-header after serving a three-month suspension for accusing CONMEBOL officials of corruption following his side’s semi-final loss to Brazil at the Copa America.
South American champions Brazil will be without Neymar for the high-profile friendly, however, as the PSG forward is yet to fully recover from a hamstring injury sustained on international duty last month.
“Having Messi is always a positive,” Scaloni said. “I would have liked Neymar to be involved, too.
“For us it is a joy to have Leo because he is a big part of the group and gets along with all his team-mates. He is a player who has marked an era in football.”