Argentina Manager Lionel Scaloni Expresses Clear Opinion on Lionel Messi’s Backup.

Lionel Messi’s understudy at Inter Miami, Thiago Almada, has received a glowing review from Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni, who believes more players like him can come from MLS.

Argentina’s head coach, Lionel Scaloni, has praised Thiago Almada, saying he’s a “great fit” for Lionel Messi. Even though Messi is the star of MLS since joining Inter Miami, his international teammate Almada has also been among the league’s top performers.

Almada moved from Argentine team Velez Sarsfield to Atlanta United for a record-breaking $16 million. He won the MLS Newcomer of the Year in his first season and was named MLS Young Player of the Year in 2023.

 

His performances have drawn comparisons from some with Messi. And Scaloni thinks that more top players like Almada could come from the MLS.

At just 22 years old, Almada became the 13th World Cup winner to play in MLS and was the first active winner before Messi came to the US. He joined the Argentina squad for the 2022 World Cup after some players got injured, and now he’s set to stay with Scaloni very impressed with him.

Scaloni told MLS: “We already knew Thiago from having him in the youth teams. We knew very well about his quality and style. The decision in this case was not difficult because he is a player who associates very well, he players very well with the ball and fits very well into our team.

“So well, his contribution was very good in addition to being a great player, he is a great person, very professional, and for us, it is a great pleasure to have him.” Scaloni also spoke highly of the progress made by MLS, calling it the fastest-growing soccer league in the world.

“It’s true that in recent years MLS has improved a lot, it has begun to look into young players with great projection and who have lots of talent like Thiago,” Scaloni said. “I think it’s going well; I see it as a growing league and these players can contribute to that growth and why not, as we have seen with Thiago, he was called up and became world champion.”

Thiago Almada was part of the Argentina 2022 World Cup winning team.

Even though Almada only played for six minutes in Argentina’s World Cup-winning team, he was just 21. He’s seen as a future star for the national team, which will one day need someone new to take over from Messi.

Last season, the midfielder won YPOTY after he scored 12 goals and set up another 16 in 33 MLS matches. That was a big step up from his first season in 2022 when he got six goals and seven assists.

There were some doubts about the amount Atlanta paid for him, but they acted quickly when he began to draw attention from some of Europe’s top clubs. Almada was also included in The Guardian’s esteemed ‘Next Generation 2018’, a list of the best young talent expected to achieve great success.

On that list was Rodrygo, who is now a Champions League winner with Real Madrid, and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia who was snapped up by Napoli and later helped them win Serie A. It was a risk by Atlanta, but it’s thought they could sell him for a league-record fee, surpassing their previous record when Newcastle United paid $27 million for winger Miguel Almiron.

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