Buenos Aires - Barcelona forward Lionel Messi says that striker Gonzalo Higuain should be picked for Argentina's 2018 Soccer World Cup squad.
Higuain lost his place to Inter Milan's Mauro Icardi and Boca Juniors' Dario Benedetto for Argentina's final matches in the South American qualifiers under coach Jorge Sampaoli.
In an interview with local channel TyC Sports, broadcast on Wednesday, Messi describes Higuain as "a fundamental player, he needs to be there."
Argentina's five-time world player of the year adds that Higuain "is one of the best number 9s in the world, he shows it every weekend at Juventus."
Higuain was a starter for Argentina in the 2014 Soccer World Cup final against Germany in Brazil and in the finals of the Copa America in 2015 and 2016.
Having qualified for next year's tournament in Russia, Sampaoli recently said he was going to consider calling up Higuain again.