Argentina coach Sergio Batista has indicated he will not call up Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez for the Copa America in July.
Tevez is coming off a long but successful season with City with whom he won the FA Cup and also qualified for the UEFA Champions League but Batista said he had to determine what was best for the squad as a whole with FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers looming after the Copa.
"I understand people when they say he is a great player (but) afterwards there are qualifiers and then the World Cup," said Batista, who prefers to have Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain as his forward line.
"Today, perhaps, he can't be at the Copa America - but I don't mean he is out of the team. Afterwards there are the qualifiers and the World Cup," he noted, suggesting that Tevez would still have a future role to play.
Tevez is a crowd favourite nonetheless and with the Copa on home soil many Argentina fans would hope to see something of the former ex-Boca Juniors man. Batista further indicated that his country must target renewed FIFA World Cup glory and not be satisfied with a Copa America win as they prepare to stage the latter tournament this summer.
Speaking after their friendly win over Paraguay, Batista, whose task it is to rejuvenate the side after their pummeling by Germany in last year's World Cup under the tutelage of Diego Maradona, said the Argentinians have to chase the biggest prize.
"Argentina need to win a World Cup more than the Copa America," said Batista, although he conceded expectations were high for the latter owing to home advantage.
Argentina have won the continental crown a record 14 times but the last success came back in 1993, largely inspired by Gabriel Batistuta's goalscoring exploits. Their only silverware since then came in the past two Olympic tournaments.
Batista is determined to use the Copa, where Brazil are the holders, as a springboard for the 2014 FIFA World Cup which their rivals and neighbours will host. "Of course Argentina will be looking to win the Copa. Expectations are high. We know it is very important and that we have the players to win it," he added.