‘We have no problem running for him’: Alexis Mac Allister insists he wants to see Lionel Messi play in the 2026 World Cup despite the striker saying Qatar 2022 would be his last… while claiming the Argentine icon ‘will continue to be the best in the world’ at 45
- Lionel Messi insisted that the 2022 Qatar tournament would be his last World Cup
- Alexis Mac Allister revealed he’s looking forward to seeing the 35-year-old icon play in 2026
- The Brighton star also explained the impact Messi had on him in the tournament
Argentina and Brighton star Alex Mac Allister has revealed that he wants to see Lionel Messi play until the 2026 World Cup.
Mac Allister and Messi were key pieces in Lionel Scaloni’s team when they emerged victorious in Qatar late last year.
The PSG star scored seven goals and had three assists in just seven games and, as captain, led his nation to victory.
Mac Allister emerged as an important player for Argentina at the tournament after originally being on the sidelines of the team, and the 24-year-old also played a significant role in Ángel Di María’s iconic goal in the final.
Messi had repeatedly said it would be his last World Cup, allowing for a fairytale ending to his international career.
Alexis Mac Allister said he wants to see Lionel Messi play for Argentina in the 2026 World Cup
Messi and Mac Allister were key pieces of Lionel Scaloni’s team during his triumph in Qatar
However, the Brighton midfielder was adamant that he would love to see the 35-year-old represent his country in the 2026 edition in the US, Canada and Mexico, by which time he would be almost 39, and believes that Messi will continue to be the star of Argentina. .
“He knows that we want everything as long as he wants and can, so hopefully he can continue with us,” Mac Allister told TyC Sports.
“Obviously I see Messi in the next World Cup. I have no doubt that at 40 or 45 he will still be the best in the world.
He is very professional, it shows, he is in perfect physical condition to continue playing calmly.
‘And then, he has everything in his head, beyond the physical (side of things), he has everything in his head. We have no problem running for it.
Mac Allister also reflected on the first time he met Messi after being called up to his national team and revealed that he was in awe of the Argentine icon.
He explained: ‘I met him on a tour we do in Spain. They had already called me on a tour that we did to the United States, that we played against Mexico and Chile, but Leo was not on that one.
“We arrived from Argentina and she was obviously very nervous, on top of that we arrived and they were already having dinner and we had to say hello one by one.
‘That’s when I met Leo, he was very nervous, all red. Maybe it wasn’t the best moment, but at the same time I will never forget it, because it’s meeting an idol.
The Brighton midfielder also reflected on his relationship with Messi on the pitch, insisting that the 35-year-old’s experiences helped him make more of an impact in Qatar.
And he added: “If he saw something that could improve the team or me, obviously he would tell me.”
“I remember the game with Mexico a lot, he told me that if they fell back a bit, I would go ahead to look for spaces. In the field we talked a lot.
Furthermore, Mac Allister insisted he was in awe of Messi’s sensational ability to help set up Julián Álvarez in the semi-final against Croatia, where he mistook Josko Gvardiol for a superb move.
The Brighton star also explained that he was extremely nervous when he met his ‘idol’ Messi
Mac Allister insisted that he and his teammates would be happy to do Messi’s career in 2026.
“I went directly to hug Messi,” said the midfielder. I put Juli aside. I swear I couldn’t believe the play he made.
“I went straight to him and said, ‘You son of a bitch.’” Gvardiol is a very important player, there is talk that he will go to a big club, a young player, physically strong, and Leo took him out for a walk.
The World Cup champions will return to action later this month when they take on Panama and Curacao in friendlies.
Mac Allister has now won 14 caps for Argentina, scoring once, and has continued to go from strength to strength with Brighton since returning to the south coast after the tournament.