An Irish-Scottish in Argentina’s national team? It’s a question that many football fans around the world, not the „hard ones”, probably asked themselves when we read the Albiceleste squad for the FIFA World Cup. Alexis Mac Allister, Brighton & Hove Albion player in the Premier League, caught the final tournament in Qatar after 8 caps. His presence in Qatar, however, is primarily due to his progress with the club team, where he scored 5 goals in 14 games in this season for one of the most attractive teams now from England. The footballer was also part of the Olympic team in Tokyo, but … he isn’t Irish, he isn’t Scottish. Indeed, he has origins in Scotland and Ireland, but the 23-year-old midfielder was born in Santa Rosa, Argentina. “The surname Mac Allister comes from Ireland,” he explains.
He comes from a family where football is a religion
His father, Carlos Mac Allister, also played for Argentina but didn’t make it that far, earning just three caps in the early 1990s. His older brothers, Francis and Kevin, are also professional footballers, so in the family football is consumed on bread, it is a religion.
All four began their careers at Argentinos Juniors. The famous club, which has also produced stars such as Diego Maradona, Juan Román Riquelme and Esteban Cambiasso, selected the three Mac Allister brothers in the same match on November 26, 2017. “This was very important for our family. Everyone was proud and we liked it a lot,” the player confessed in an interview with olympics.com.
His dream was to play for Argentina in a World Cup
In 2019, when he made his debut for the Argentine national team, the midfielder transferred to Europe to Brighton, after the first 3 years in the seniors for Argentinos Juniors. His dream has always been to play for Argentina in a World Cup. This after he really wanted to play with the Albiceleste at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, although the Premier League club did not agree in the first phase. “I pushed because I felt it was very important for me to represent Argentina at the Olympics.”
Now, Alexis has just turned into a star of the Argentina national team in Qatar 2022. He started the FIFA World Cup as a reserve, but was one of the new players that coach Lionel Scaloni proposed in the match against Mexico (2-0), after the shock with Saudi Arabia (1-2). And he didn’t need very long to earn his place in the first team. The energy with which he entered, but also his vision in the midfield were decisive for him to be started in the decisive match against Poland (2-0). And when it was more difficult for the team, after a missed penalty by Lionel Messi, Alexis Mac Allister rewarded everyone’s trust. He scored the first goal of the match won by the Albiceleste 2-0 and basically opened the way for the team to the round of 16. And this was and his first goal for national team.
The “Irish” integrated very well into the team and gave the impression that he can collaborate very well with Lionel Messi, the number 1 star. In fact, when he made his debut for the Argentine national team in 2019, Messi defended him in front of the team because of his nickname, Colo, which means “ginger” in Argentina. After the Poland game, Alexis was rewarded with the Budweiser Player of the Match title, but he also turned to… Messi: ”That is tricky, but I would always choose Lionel Messi because he makes things easier, so definitely he is the one.”
Mac Allister is already being watched by big clubs
He hasn’t quite put his ‘stamp’ on the FIFA World Cup either, and the Brighton & Hove Albion player has already sparked the interest of bigger clubs. According to transfer market experts, Alexis has already become a target for Inter Milan to cover their midfield. Especially since Roberto Gagliardini will almost certainly leave at the end of his contract in June, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan has already reached 33 years old. And Mac Allister is a player the club feel would have the right profile for their system, which uses a trio in the middle. For now, the player has just extended his contract with Brighton until 2025. And with his share having already exploded, the youngster is no longer an easily accessible player. But, at least for Argentina, Alexis Mac Alister is a “game won”.