World Cup 2022

Why Julian Alvarez is key to Argentina & Lionel Messi’s success

A number of people have heaped praise of Julian Alvarez recently.

The striker has had a sensational World Cup campaign and is now set to play out a final on Sunday.

Alvarez netted twice to book Argentina a spot in the final, becoming the youngest player to score a brace at this stage since Pele.

It is not just goals Alvarez brings to this side, though, with his work-rate key to Argentina’s success, especially at Lionel Messi is now 35 and has never been an avid presser of the ball anyway.

Former Argentina and Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta told BBC Sport that Alvarez’s ‘work-rate is unbelievable’:

“He’s playing alongside Lionel Messi up front and it seems, from the outside, that he’s like: ‘Messi - don’t run. I’ll do it for you,’ he added.

“You need a big heart [to do that]. He started at the World Cup on the bench but then [got] one chance and he’s been brilliant.”

Former England midfielder Jermaine Jenas added: “At such a young age, to come on to this stage and put in that type of performance, in that moment for his country - incredible.”

Messi himself has also been full of praise for Alvarez: “During the whole World Cup, but also on Tuesday, he was extraordinary,” added Messi. “He ran everything. He fought for everything - creating chances, fighting. For us, he was the surprising discovery, and he deserves everything that has happened to him because he is a lovely guy.”

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Josh Barker

Josh Barker

Middlesbrough fan from the North East of England. @JoshBarker979 on Twitter.

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