Qatar 2022: Lionel Messi headlines Argentina’s final 26-man squad list
FIFA World Cup Argentina

Lionel Messi was the highlight as Argentina's highly-anticipated final 26-man World Cup squad was released to the public.

Naming the squad on Friday afternoon, Lionel Scaloni released a list featuring Messi as well as five Premier League stars, including Alexis Mac Allister, who stars for Brighton.

Argentina are aiming to go all the way in the tournament for the first time since 1986, having gone all the way on two editions prior to that in 1978.

Their tournament begins on November 22 against Saudi Arabia before they take on Mexico four days later. Group C's end will see them face Poland on November 30. 

Messi would have ‘completed football’ if he can somehow inspire Argentina to win football’s biggest international prize in Qatar come December 18.

Alongside Messi, Scaloni, who more or less broke World Cup 2022 tradition by naming the squad with a run-of-the-mill read out of the 26 names, named a strong squad with a number of faces recognizable to Premier League viewers.

After his Copa America heroics in 2021, Aston Villa’s Emi Martinez, played a key role in handing Messi his first taste of success on the international stage and is once again the leading candidate to be handed the number one shirt for the tournament.

Elsewhere, Manchester United's Lisandro Martinez and Tottenham's Cristian Romero, no-nonsense centre backs with versatility, could also be afforded opportunities by Scaloni.

Mac Allister was perhaps the most surprise inclusion in the squad and was named following a series of impressive performances for Brighton – especially in recent weeks against Chelsea and Wolves.

Julian Alvarez, long thought to be the heir to the Argentine throne when Messi eventually hangs his boots, is included among the forwards.

Other notable names include Nicolas Otamendi, formerly of City now plying his trade in Portugal with Benfica. There was also room for former Tottenham full-back Juan Foyth.

Leandro Parades, who left Paris Saint Germain this summer for Juventus, is likely to play a key role in midfield. His team-mate in Turin, Angel Di Maria, another veteran of the unsuccessful 2014 and 2018 campaigns, is back and also in contention to give his best in what is likely his last crack and opportunity to win the highly-coveted price.

The squad in full: 

Goalkeepers: Emi Martínez, Franco Armani, Geronimo Rulli 

Defenders: Nahuel Molina, Gonzalo Montiel, Cristian Romero, German Pezzella, Nicolas Otamendi, Lisandro Martínez, Marcos Acuna, Nicolas Tagliafico, Juan Foyth 

Midfielders: Leandro Paredes, Guido Rodriguez, Rodrigo De Paul, Exequiel Palacios, Alexis Mac Allister, Enzo Fernandez, Angel Di María, Nico Gonzalez 

Forwards: Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala, Papu Gomez, Lautaro Martínez, Julian Alvarez, Joaquin Correa