Argentina's Lionel Messi in the last World Cup in South Africa: His country's squad is already being pruned.

Argentina's Lionel Messi in the last World Cup in South Africa: His country's squad is already being pruned. Photo: Getty Images

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella has told four players from his preliminary 30-man squad that they are no longer in consideration for a place at the World Cup.

Strikers Franco Di Santo (Werder Bremen) and Lisandro Lopez (Al-Gharafa), midfielder Fabian Rinaudo (Catania) and defender Gabriel Mercado (River Plate) have been told they're out, the Argentine Football Association said on its website.

"Mixed feelings, but I'm always positive and grateful to all those who help me develop," tweeted Di Santo.

The quartet were named in the initial 30-man squad by Sabella and another three must be removed from the list when the final 23-player squad is submitted to FIFA on June 2.

Argentina have friendly matches against Trinidad and Tobago on June 4 and Slovenia on June 7 before facing Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria at the World Cup in Brazil.

DPA