Fernando Belluschi won the last of his five caps for Argentina back in 2011. Last year, he ended a long stay in Europe to join Mexican club Cruz Azul. He then returned to play in his homeland for the first time in almost a decade. Last month, he turned 33.
But those facts did not foil the San Lorenzo midfielder receiving an Argentina recall on Tuesday after Juventus forward Pablo Dybala dropped out due to injury for next month’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifiers against Brazil and Colombia. Despite having been in the international wilderness for over five years, Belluschi revealed he was anticipating a call-up from Edgardo Bauza.
“I’m very happy,” said the former FC Porto and Bursaspor player. “I’m very grateful for this opportunity – it’s there to be enjoyed.
“It was a little expected because of Dybala. I was nervous, and with this desire, I have to make the most of it. I don’t think Bauza will ask for anything different from what I’ve been doing.
“This call-up comes at a great time for me. My form for San Lorenzo has enabled it. I have to thank my team-mates because this call-up is down to them.
“Returning to this country was one of the best decisions I’ve made. When I returned, I didn’t think I was going to accomplish so many things.”
Argentina are fifth – which is the inter-confederation playoff place – in South American qualifying. Paraguay and Chile are just one and two points behind them, respectively. La Albiceleste took just two points from their last three games – all against teams beneath them.
The last time Argentina missed out on a World Cup was Mexico 1970.
To mark the 30th anniversary of Argentina’s second World Cup triumph, FIFA.com recently produced a series of videos, interviews and features, which you can see by following the links to the right.