As a majority of teams still look to secure a spot for the upcoming Qatar World Cup during this final international break of the season, Lionel Scaloni and Argentina will be preparing for the tournament having already qualified as early as November.
Following a 0-0 draw against Brazil during the qualifying rounds in November, Argentina ensured their passage and are now looking set to finish second in the South American qualifiers table behind rivals Brazil. The two teams remain the only undefeated sides after 15 rounds of matches.
With an eye on naming the best squad for the World Cup, manager Scaloni has called up a 44-man provisional squad for the upcoming qualifiers against Venezuela and Ecuador.
Almost all of the Albiceleste’s household names from their Copa triumph have been included such as Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria, Rodrigo De Paul and Emiliano Martinez.
But Scaloni has also included a number of uncapped youngsters such as Manchester United’s Alejandro Garnacho and Real Madrid’s Nicolas Paz, who play for the clubs’ respective youth teams.
These talented bunch would have been looking forward to making their debut appearance for their country and would especially be keen to share the pitch with Messi.
Evidence from Argentina’s initial training sessions suggests the latter as the Argentine youngsters took to social media to express their enthusiasm of experiencing playing the sport with the great man himself.
Alejandro Garnacho and Julian Aude, who are a part of Argentina’s U-20 team coached by Javier Mascherano took to Instagram to share their wonderful experiences. While Garnacho wrote – “Dreams really do come true ❤ Idol”, Aude expressed his pleasure by writing- “Happy for what i’m living”.
Alejandro Garnacho of Manchester United with Lionel Messi. This from Garnacho’s Instagram with the caption “Dreams really do come true ❤ Idol… 🐐👑”. pic.twitter.com/b8PoYF9yI9— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) March 23, 2022
Yesterday when Messi arrived at Ezeiza, Mascherano’s U20 was training at that time, he got the shirt and also trained with young boys.— All About Argentina 🛎🇦🇷 (@AlbicelesteTalk) March 23, 2022
📱Julian Aude (Lanus U20 player) : “Happy for what i’m living.” ❤️🇦🇷 @tndeportivo 🔴🇦🇷 pic.twitter.com/GBRuPqyOhQ
As Mascherano’s team were training when Messi and co arrived for first-team training at Ezeiza, it provided the chance for both Aude and Garnacho to click a few pictures with Messi.
Both Aude and Garnacho have Scaloni to thank for this opportunity as training with Messi is a rare experience, one almost every football fan dreams of achieving.
From the players’ reactions on Instagram, it is clear that they have enjoyed every bit of this once in a lifetime experience and have not at all taken it for granted.