Forwards Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain lead the Argentina squad for their 2014 FIFA World Cup™ qualifier against Ecuador in two weeks, but the main surprises are among the defenders.

Coach Alejandro Sabella unveiled a list of 18 foreign-based players to host the Ecuadorians on 2 June and for a friendly against Brazil a week later in USA, with defender Matias Rodriguez, who plays in Chile for Universidad de Chile, the most unexpected name.

Rodriguez received his first call-up, having played for the youth teams of Boca Juniors before having spells in Ecuador, Austria and Uruguay.

Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta, Hugo Campagnaro, Marcos Rojo, Federico Fernandez and Ezequiel Garay are the other defenders on the list, which the coach should complete in a week with home-based players.

Internacional midfielder Pablo Guinazu is another surprise name, while Carlos Tevez is one high-profile player who misses out, as do Javier Pastore and Rodrigo Palacio.

Foreign-based Argentina squad:

Goalkeeper: Sergio Romero (Sampdoria)
Defenders: Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Matias Rodriguez (Universidad de Chile), Ezequiel Garay (Benfica), Federico Fernandez (Napoli), Hugo Campagnaro (Napoli), Marcos Rojo (Spartak Moscow)
Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Fernando Gago (Roma), Jose Sosa (FC Metalist), Maxi Rodriguez (Liverpool), Pablo Guinazu (Internacional), Eduardo Salvio (Atletico Madrid)
Forwards: Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli), Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)