Julian Alvarez has described it as a “privilege” to play alongside Lionel Messi in the Argentina team, saying it puts his own abilities into perspective.
The striker has had to be patient at Manchester City amid Erling Haaland’s stunning form. Alvarez has started just three times in the Premier League but was given the nod in four of City’s six Champions League group matches.
He’s repaid Pep Guardiola’s faith by netting seven goals in 20 appearances, three of which have come in the league. The attacker has netted three times in 12 outings for Argentina having made his debut in April 2021.
The World Cup, therefore, will be his first major tournament and he will be hoping for minutes on the pitch as he competes with the likes of Lautaro Martinez to lead the line.
While it will be his first World Cup, it is likely to be Messi’s last. The 35-year-old won last year’s Copa America but has not yet clasped hands on the biggest prize of them all.
Argentina are one of the favourites going into the tournament and Messi is due to play a central role in their quest. Alvarez hailed Messi and the impact he has had on him.
“For me, Messi is always at his best. Even when he is not he is still the best, because of what he can do. It’s magnificent,” he told in-house media.
“He is one of a kind. Obviously, having him in the team is a privilege and I’ll help him and the whole team bring joy to Argentina.
“He leads the group in a great way and this was reflected before the final [of the Copa America]. He said some amazing words. Being there you realise that he is a really normal person, he is a great person and a great captain.”
With Argentina tipped by many to lift the trophy, Alvarez feels confident ahead of the finals and hopes he can play an important role in Qatar. He said: “We are in a great moment where we are not losing games, the team is good and solid, but a World Cup is really hard.
“Obviously we will try to give our best as we always do. But like I said, it is a World Cup and any match you could get knocked out.
“I am feeling very good, I am playing a lot of minutes and I hope to arrive in my best form. Everybody has helped me and slowly I’ve kept improving. I was always patient and in the last games I have played more minutes. I think that’s the result of hard work and we need to keep doing it this way.”