Argentine national team in Qatar 2022: Thiago Almada, the most unexpected call for Lionel Scaloni

Posted 2022/11/19 31 0

Go to notes by Juan Manuel Trenado

DOHA.- For an Argentine team that had achieved an unbeatable communion between the coaching staff and players, many merits must be made for the management to agree to break that bond of fidelity. Injuries, absences, some anger, changed some of Lionel Scaloni’s ways of thinking. Y called up for the World Cup a player who debuted just 54 days ago in the national team. about Thiago Almada It is, without a doubt, the most surprising call-up within a team that, being so solid and armed, gives very little room for astonishment.

The coach sent a clear message by dismissing Joaquín Correa and Nicolás González. recovered a place Angel Correawho was always in the group, but the young man who emerged in Vélez Sarsfield was not in the plans of many.

Ángel Correa and Thiago Almada, at the San Pablo airport, on the way to Qatar
Ángel Correa and Thiago Almada, at the San Pablo airport, on the way to Qatar

After a brief passage through the pandemonium that Hamad airport became, both arrived in the morning from Doha (Argentine dawn), at the Qatar University grounds, where they were received by AFA employees and immediately joined to practices with the team.

The 21-year-old only joined Lionel Scaloni’s calls in 2022. and he had his official debut on September 24, in the 3-0 win over Honduras. Few interventions, a couple of dribbles (almost always forward) and neat passes were his letter of introduction, for which Lionel Messi left a brief reflection. “Thiago is very fresh. He is a very fast player who has a lot of one on onethat he is very mischievous, that he is not afraid of anything, that he faces”, was his “blessing”.

Thiago Almada and Messi, in a meeting during the recent tour of the United States;  It was the debut for the youth that emerged in Vélez
Thiago Almada and Messi, in a meeting during the recent tour of the United States; It was the debut for the youth that emerged in VélezInstagram

Winding, incisive routes. Thiago Almada does what is most difficult to achieve in football today. Snub a marker, leave it behind. Get a small space and start so that the opposing chess pieces are forced to redirect. His talent is enough to survive, at 1.71 meters, in sectors where rivals tend to place people with rough and corpulent physiques.

Like Carlos Tevez, he was raised in Fuerte Apache. His world centered around the Monoblock 2 and on the Santa Clara dirt court he found a taste for kicking the ball. His relationship with Tevez is very good. “We got together to eat barbecue with him and his friends”he once told.

Almada with Carlos Tevez: two Fuerte Apache products for the Argentine national team
Almada with Carlos Tevez: two Fuerte Apache products for the Argentine national team

After moving to El Palomar, they took him to try out at Vélez Sarsfield and he gained places and moved up the categories very quickly. He reached the youth teams and was sparring for the team in Russia 2018.

Gabriel Heinze made it debut in August 2018, in a match against Newell’s. His brilliant appearance in Vélez quickly brought him international recognition and the main teams in Europe began to mention him as a promise of interest to the market.

At that time, there was talk of figures of more than 25 million euros, until his media exposure stopped concentrating on football and turned to a legal case. They denounced him in a case for sexual abuse.

Thiago Almada, new summoned
Thiago Almada, new summonedAFA

The event occurred in December 2020. A 28-year-old woman filed a complaint after a party organized by Vélez players, including Almada, Miguel Brizuela and Ricardo Centurión, as well as coach Juan José Delebene.

At first Centurión was released from the case, but the other three participants were charged by the Functional Instruction Unit specialized in gender violence of the Judicial Department of San Isidro.

Mariano Cúneo Libarona was his defender. “Thiago denies the fact, but what they sell are the footballers. The victim’s statements are not enough, evidence is required “said the lawyer coldly.

Thiago Almada, with the Vélez shirt, in front of the Flamengo defender Gustavo Henrique
Thiago Almada, with the Vélez shirt, in front of the Flamengo defender Gustavo Henrique ANTONIO LACERDA – POOL

In the midst of the investigation process, negotiations to transfer Almada to Atlanta United of Major League Soccer, his current team, accelerated. The pass was completed for 14.5 million euros in February of this year, a few days after the case was filed. “There was no evidence to investigate it”, a judicial source told LA NACION. The only one who was charged and will be tried for sexual abuse was Delebene, who was arrested in July 2021.

Although justice ruled on the matter and released the footballer from responsibilities, there were several voices that protested the calls to the selected team.

Almada proved his innocence before a judge and now wants attention to focus only on what he does on a soccer field. With the Argentine team, and no less than in a World Cup.

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