Alejandro Garnacho has flown to Spain with his club after being left out of the World Cup squad.
Alejandro Garnacho may have left his passport on the bedside table after his late heroics against Real Sociedad a little over a month ago. His goal was not quite enough to ensure Manchester United advanced as Europa League group winners, but it did help him advance on the European stage.
Ten days later, the Argentine sensation scored again, this time against Fulham with a last-gasp strike. With World Cup announcements just around the corner, it was the ideal time to nudge national selectors, though Garnacho was ultimately heartbroken and overlooked.
Argentina’s captain, Lionel Messi, and Alejandro Garnacho (right).
It was the first setback in a promising career that saw the quick-footed teenager help the next generation win the FA Youth Cup last season. Despite only turning 18 this summer, Garnacho has had the opportunity to rub shoulders with football royalty, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
His moment will undoubtedly arrive on the biggest stage. However, with Messi doing everything he can to lead Argentina to victory, Garnacho should have been by his side – and the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has three valid reasons to question that selection (non) decision.
Garnacho has only been a senior player for a year, but he has found himself at the center of the Ronaldo vs. Messi debate, which has dominated world football for nearly two decades – almost before the United sensation was born. It has also instilled rage in him.
Before his controversial departure, Ronaldo took Garnacho under his wing, and the latter frequently referred to the striker as his idol. To be sure, Garnacho is a good choice, but Argentina fans are naturally devoted to Messi, and this was cited as one implausible reason for his omission.
That and other conspιracy theories can be dismissed, and worshiping both is unthinkable. Garnacho clearly does, and he has expressed his admiration for Messi while they were working together at a training camp.
Teams with speed or, at the very least, proper engines have all caught the eye as the Qatar show continues. Just a few examples include England, France, Brazil, and Spain.
Argentina, of course, remaιns a contender, but their squad is among the oldest in Qatar, and their progress has relied on moments of Messi magic, as evidenced by Australia’s victory. How the former Barcelona great could put Garnacho’s legs, enthusiasm, and knowledge to good use in his final World Cup.
Alejandro Garnacho celebrates with Cristiano Ronaldo before leaving (right).
Aside from providing a much-needed spark to Argentina’s ranks and missing out on the chance to become a soundboard, their 26-man squad only has four players under the age of 24. It’s compelling reading, with England, France, and Spain all capturing generational teenagers who have taken advantage of the opportunity.
England’s Jude Bellingham (19) has been a bright spot, while Spain is banking on the magical Barcelona duo Gavi (18) and Pedri (19), who are the same age as Ronaldo! Despite his rapid rise, Garnacho is still a little behind those three in his developmental cycle.
Argentina has missed a trιck for a variety of reasons, and Messi will almost certainly agree. It means Garnacho will have to catch up on major tournament experience when nations gather in North America four years from now, but that decision may benefit United in the meantime as he attempts to prove Argentina wrong.