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Messi's MLS World Cup team-mate! Thiago Almada called up by Argentina as injury replacement

03:15 GMT+4 18/11/2022
Thiago Almada Argentina friendly 2022
MLS youngster Thiago Almada has been called up to help Argentina's Lionel Messi-led attack cope with injuries at the World Cup.

WHAT HAPPENED? Atlanta United's record signing has been called up by Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni to replace Joaquin Correa after the attacking player suffered an injury ahead of their Group C game against Saudi Arabia. Almada, 21, only made his senior Argentina debut a couple of months ago.

WHAT THEY SAID: Messi is already a big fan of the youngster, praising him after Almada made his Argentina debut. “Thiago plays loose,” he said. "He’s very fast and he has a lot of 1-v-1 ability. He’s very clever and he’s not afraid of anything. He goes at you.” 

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Almada will now be joining up with Messi as Argentina seek to lift their first World Cup since 1986. His inclusion is another marker of just how far MLS' talent pool has come in recent years.

IN TWO PHOTOS:

THE VERDICT:

WHAT NEXT FOR ALMADA? The 21-year-old has been in impressive form since joining Atlanta United from his boyhood club, Velez Starsfield. The only way is up for the youngster and he could be one to watch in his first World Cup.