Maradona picks Palermo after nine-year exile

BUENOS AIRES - Striker Martin Palermo, 35, and defender Rolando Schiavi, 36, have been surprisingly added to Argentina's squad at the last minute for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers at home to Brazil and away to Paraguay.

Estudiantes midfielder Rodrigo Brana was also named as coach Diego Maradona looked for cover due to several injury worries.

Palermo is a cult figure at Boca Juniors, where he is alltime leading scorer, but has played only a handful of internationals and famously missed three penalties during a 3-0 Copa America defeat to Colombia in 1999.

He was last called up for a World Cup qualifier against Chile in November 2000 where he was an unused substitute.

Striker Diego Milito, defender Nicolas Burdisso and midfielders Juan Veron and Sebastian Battaglia are all doubtful for Saturday's clash with arch-rivals Brazil in Rosario.

Argentina visit Paraguay in Asuncion four days later.

Maradona's team are precariously placed in fourth place in the 10-team South American qualifying group with 22 points, two ahead of fifth-placed Ecuador, and four matches each to play.

The top four teams qualify directly for South Africa but the fifth team must playoff over two legs against the fourth-placed side from CONCACAF.