Defending Olympic dreams

So now we are in the off-season and have six weeks to enjoy idle gossip about transfers until the first game of the new season on August 8.

Thankfully, this blog won't be filled with such meaningless tattle (well it will, but I'm making a point), because in only 35 days we have the Beijing Olympics.

The Argentina Olympic squad that will defend a gold medal has been selected. It may not hold quite the same prestige as the World Cup - especially not for British teams which can't compete - but it is a source of pride nevertheless for a recently underachieving Argentina team.

Rules dictate the squad has to be mainly made up of players under the age of 23, with a handful of older members allowed. The big name is, of course, Lionel Messi, who Argie Bargy recently watched in a homecoming national game and would like to confirm his status as a footballing genius.

Messi wows FourFourTwo's correspondant against Ecuador 

Maybe more surprising, given his slated performances in the World Cup qualifiers, is the presence Roman Riquelme, at 30-years-old the eldest of the squad. But his commanding position at Boca is undeniable, even though Palermo may wear Boca captain's armband. Javier Mascherano, 24, is also included as is Inter defender Nicolas Burdisso at 27.

Several clubs have withheld players (Demichelis, Milito and Coloccini, for example) but squad manager Sergio Batista can be confident with the 18 he has selected. Sergio Agüero, paired with Messi in the World Cup qualifiers, is likely to continue up front.

As ever, very few of the players selected actually play in Argentina, namely Riqueleme at Boca, Buonanette at River (although he is likely to head north) and Fabian Monzon, Boca's excellent defender.

Expect a tantalising performance from the football team but, I'm going to be honest, not quite as sumptuous as Las Leonas, Argentina's women's field hockey squad.

See them here

And here

And here

OK that's enough... probably

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