BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Striker Carlos Tevez was left out of Argentina's preliminary 30-man squad for the World Cup on Tuesday.
Despite having just led Juventus to the Italian league title as the team's top scorer, Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella ignored pleas from Tevez' passionate fan base in Argentina.
Sabella has never called up the hard-working striker since taking charge of the national team in 2011. Instead he's put his faith in Ezequiel Lavezzi and Rodrigo Palacio as substitutes for star attackers Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero.
All were included in Sabella's initial 30-player squad, which will be reduced to a final 23 by a FIFA deadline of June 2.
The 30-year-old Tevez has scored 19 goals in the Italian Serie A this season.
"I am sorry I had to leave out good players," Sabella said, without mentioning names.
He also excluded veteran midfielder Esteban Cambiasso of Inter Milan but included Manchester City's Martin Demichelis, who hasn't played for the national team for two years.
While Argentina's attack is among the world's strongest, the team looks weaker at the back.
Sergio Romero remains Sabella's first-choice goalkeeper even though he's not a regular starter for French club Monaco. Mariano Andujar of Catania and Agustin Orion of Boca Juniors were called up as Romero's backups in the preliminary squad.
Sabella included central defenders Federico Fernandez and Ezequiel Garay along with fullbacks Pablo Zabaleta and Marco Roja.