One of the breakout stars of the 2022 FIFA World Cup was Argentina’s Alexis Mac Allister. The midfielder plays with Brighton & Hove Albion in arguably the best football league in the world, the Premier League.
However, despite these accolades in his professional career, the 24-year-old stated that once he was named to be part of the national team, Mac Allister felt nervous about sharing a locker room with Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria.
“For me, already being in the national team and playing alongside players with as much history as Leo, like Di María, players who had so much history, who are so important worldwide, means a lot, especially for young people like us,” Mac Allister told ESPN (h/t Marca).
“It was a bit of a strange day because, obviously, he is my idol and it was the first time I was going to the national team; I was very nervous. I didn’t know whether to greet him or not, because I’m quite a shy boy, so I didn’t know whether to greet him with nerves. In the end, I greeted him, but at first, one has that respect, that fear. I realized that he is a boy who treats us all the same and the younger ones in a great way.”
It’s no surprise that Mac Allister might have been shell-shocked to share a dressing room with those two veteran players, considering he likely saw them representing Argentina in the 2014 World Cup Final, which Messi and the South American nation lost.
However, if the tournament in Qatar showed, the Brighton star could play alongside one of the greatest players such as Messi, who faced enormous pressure to win the World Cup in his final attempt to solidify his legacy.
The midfielder is part of the team that helped Messi win the trophy that had long eluded him, which should last Mac Allister his entire career.