Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada was one of the players on Argentina’s bench for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Although the 21-year-old saw limited action, being part of the squad that helped Lionel Messi lift the trophy was a dream come true.
The midfielder spoke with ESPN Argentina recently, where he discussed being a teammate of Messi’s for that entire time in Qatar, which resulted in their coronation as world champions.
“I always dreamed of being a world champion,” Almada said. I would watch the matches and say that I wanted to play in a World Cup, defend the National Team’s shirt, play with Messi … and luckily, thank God, it was my turn.
“Playing next to Leo, being in a locker room with him, was a dream. I try to treat him as a normal person, as he likes [and] also not to bother him, not be on top of him. Also, because I’m a bit embarrassed, he knows what he transmits; it’s a dream to play with him and win a World Cup with him being the captain, and because of how he played.”
Although Messi likely won’t be part of the World Cup defense in 2026 due to him being 39 when the tournament in North America begins despite many urging him to keep playing international football for this next cycle.
Nonetheless, the 35-year-old could be around for the remainder of this year and part of the squad for the 2024 Copa America. However long Messi remains playing with the Argentina national team, football fans should enjoy it because the end of the ride is nearing.