Our 27-year-old centre-half was drafted into the Argentina squad for their friendly matches against Croatia and Portugal during the international break, promptly being thrust into the line-up for the first game against the former – held at West Ham’s Upton Park.
With his only two previous caps having been earned back in June, 2011, it was a positive comeback for the former Sevilla man as he helped his side recover from a 1-0 half-time deficit to win 2-1.
Also named on the bench for Argentina’s subsequent 1-0 loss to Portugal at Manchester United’s Old Trafford on Tuesday, Federico spoke of his pride at getting another chance to represent his country – and said the opportunity to reacquaint himself with many of his compatriots only added to the whole experience.
“I’m very happy to be back with the national team, three years after the last time,” said Federico, who was joined in the squad by Spurs team-mate Erik Lamela – a second half substitute in both games.
“I’m proud to get a chance to represent my country. There are a lot of players in Argentina and from all the clubs in the top leagues around the world who are eligible for the national team, meaning we have competition for places in all the positions, so it made me proud and happy to play and I want to stay in the picture for the next matches.”
Critically-acclaimed forward Lionel Messi was also in the line-up for the victory against Croatia last Wednesday, with Erik going on for Manchester United’s Angel di Maria 13 minutes from time.
For Federico, the opportunity to be part of such a star-studded squad was an enjoyable one – even though it wasn’t entirely unfamiliar.
“It was a good experience to meet up with the players – I know many of them anyway,” he added. “I know not only Erik, but also some of the players from our Olympic Games gold medal-winning team in 2008.
“I’ve also played for the national team’s first XI and for the Under-20s with some of them before.
“Argentina has a good squad and has the ability to win all matches – friendly or competitive. I felt very good on the pitch against Croatia with my team-mates so it was a good experience.”