Thiago Almada has been named to Argentina’s squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup by manager Lionel Scaloni, the Argentina Football Association announced today.
“First and foremost, we couldn’t be happier for Thiago to have the opportunity to represent Argentina at the FIFA World Cup,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said. “He’s consistently shown his quality and has proven to be a top player deserving of this call-up. This is a proud moment for the club and we’re confident he’ll represent both Atlanta United and Major League Soccer with world-class skill on the game’s biggest stage.”
Almada, 21, becomes the first active Atlanta United player to represent his country at a World Cup and the first MLS player to represent Argentina at the tournament. The 2022 MLS Newcomer of the Year received his first call-up and made his Argentina national team debut in a friendly against Honduras in September as the team made final preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, becoming just the second player from MLS to earn a call-up to Argentina’s senior national team (Pity Martínez, 2019). Almada made seven appearances for Argentina’s U-20s, scoring one goal, and three appearances with the U-23s. The midfielder also represented Argentina at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo where he made two appearances and had one assist.
Almada joined Atlanta United as a Designated Player on Feb. 9, 2022 and recorded a team-high 18 goal contributions in an outstanding debut season in MLS, culminating with being named the 2022 MLS Newcomer of the Year. He started 25 of his 29 MLS appearances and recorded four games with at least a goal and an assist, tied for the most in a single season in club history. Almada led the club with 12 assists this season, a figure that tied for the seventh most in the league, and added six goals. He was one of only six players in MLS to record at least 12 assists and five goals during the season. He was selected to the MLS Team of the Week on five occasions (Week 11, 13, 25, 30, and 31).
Argentina was drawn into Group C and will open the tournament against Saudi Arabia on Nov. 22 at 5 a.m. EST. The Albiceleste will then face Mexico on Nov. 26 at 2 p.m. EST before finishing the group stage against Poland on Nov. 30 at 2 p.m. EST.
Almada joins Brad Guzan (United States: 2010, 2014), Carlos Carmona (Chile: 2010, 2014), and Kenwyne Jones (Trinidad and Tobago: 2006) as Atlanta United players to participate in a World Cup.