Days after announcing his retirement from international soccer, members of the Argentina national soccer team are asking Lionel Messi to reconsider.
Messi, the 35-year-old forward, announced his retirement from international competition after his team won the World Cup in a 4-2 penalty shootout following a 3-3 nailbiting cup final in Qatar against France.
Even if Messi doesn’t make an immediate decision, Brighton midfielder Alexis Mac Allister and the rest of the squad still want him around in some capacity. The World Cup champions will be defending the trophy in 2026, where the World Cup will be in various locations in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
“We don’t want him to leave the national team,” Mac Allister said. “He said [this] was going to be his last World Cup, but we don’t want that. We want him to stay with us. He knows it. So let’s see what happens.”
Mac Allister played a key role in Messi’s crowning glory, with an assist to Angel Di Maria for the team’s memorable second goal against France before forcing action to extra time and penalties.
“He deserves it,” Mac Allister said. “It was the only trophy he was missing and now he has it. I’m really glad to be part of this, to help him and the team to get that trophy.”
Mac Allister has been taking direct advice from Messi during this World Cup. Both were instrumental in Argentina’s crucially important 2-0 win against Mexico in the second group. The team’s only loss in the competition was a 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia.
“There was one moment against Mexico when Messi was not touching the ball as he wanted, so he was playing a bit deeper,” Mac Allister said. “When he went deeper, he told me to go higher and receive the ball in the pocket. So he helped me to understand the game, to know where to receive the ball, and we had a very good connection throughout the World Cup.”
While Mac Allister returned to Brighton to a hero’s welcome, the 24-year-old is available for Tuesday night’s game against Everton.
Meanwhile, Messi’s current contract with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) is currently set to expire in June. In the contract Messi signed with PSG in 2021, there is a one-year option the team could exercise. However, PSG officials have not given any indication of exercising this option.
Rumors surrounding the summer transfer window are indicating that Messi could leave European soccer for the American Major League Soccer organization. Sources close to the situation are citing a ‘likely’ deal that Inter Miami could sign him to a lucrative deal that could potentially make him the highest-paid player in MLS history.
Inter Miami is co-owned by former professional soccer player David Beckham and construction magnates Jorge and Jose Mas.