Brighton's Alexis Mac Allister makes Lionel Messi and Argentina admission ahead of World Cup – Sussex Live

Alexis Mac Allister is one of eight Brighton players who will feature at this year’s World Cup in Qatar which could be the last for Argentina legend Lionel Messi
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Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister and his Argentina teammates are hoping Lionel Messi will not announce his international retirement after the World Cup.
Football’s biggest international tournament gets underway later today (Sunday) with hosts Qatar taking on an Ecuador side who have Albion stars Moises Caicedo, Pervis Estupinan and Jeremy Sarmiento within their ranks.
Mac Allister has to wait a couple of days before La Albiceleste start their campaign, with Argentina facing Saudi Arabia on Tuesday afternoon (November 22). Many believe this year’s tournament could be the last to feature seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi, who is now 35-years-old.
READ MORE: Spain, Argentina, Brazil and more fixtures which Brighton's World Cup stars could feature in
However, Mac Allister and the Argentina squad are putting that distraction to one side ahead of the tournament. The Brighton midfielder told Albion TV: “We don’t want him to leave the national team. He’s very important for us, for the country. So hopefully he is not [retiring]. It’s better not to think about Messi leaving the national team.”
Mac Allister has been in sensational form for Brighton over the last two seasons and he has rightly become a familiar face within the Argentina squad as a result. The 23-year-old has accumulated just eight caps in total since making his international debut in June 2019, but six of those have come in the past year and the Brighton man has missed just one of Argentina’s last seven matches.
“It’s an amazing goal that I want to achieve [playing for Argentina at the World Cup]. Of course, I’m really looking forward to it,” said Mac Allister.
“It’s like a family [the Argentina squad]. And I think, since [Lionel] Scaloni came to the national team he brought players in to reach a really good group, everyone is really involved and try to do their best for the national team. He brought the right players with the right mentality. And I think everyone can see that.
Argentina head into the tournament in the midst of an incredible 36-game unbeaten run. They last tasted defeat in July 2019, so there is no surprise that confidence will be high in Qatar.
But Mac Allister and his teammates are not getting complacent. After their opener against Saudi Arabia, group games against Mexico and Poland will follow and the Brighton midfielder rattled off a list of countries to be wary of in their quest to lift the trophy for the first time since 1986.
He added: “We know that every national team is hard to play against. We’ve got Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia. And they are really tough national teams with really good players.
“But we are really confident about ourselves. We will try to do our best to lift that World Cup. We always want to be champions and that has to be our mentality. We know that the people are getting excited in Argentina because we’ve got the best player in the world, because we’ve got really good players and a really good team.
“But we have to know that it’s not easy to play the World Cup and there are a lot of fantastic national teams like France, Spain, Brazil, England, fantastic national teams, they will be hard to play against. So we will try to do our best and then we will see where we end up.”
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