Lionel Messi applauds Brighton after FIFA World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister receives a hero's welcome on his return to Sussex

Lionel Messi showed his appreciation to Brighton & Hove Albion after 2022 FIFA World Cup winner and Argentina teammate Alexis Mac Allister received a hero’s welcome from the Seagulls.
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The 24-year-old received a ticker-tape reception from Albion on Monday after Argentina’s tournament triumph in Qatar.

A video posted on the Seagulls’ social media channels showed the midfielder entering the club’s Lancing training base to thunderous applause from teammates and members of staff.

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Mac Allister, who was wearing his winner’s medal and had a replica of the FIFA World Cup trophy in tow, embraced each of his colleagues before a machine fired blue and white ticker-tape into the air.

Paris Saint-Germain megastar Messi responded to Albion’s heart-warming video on Instagram, posting five clapping emojis. The 35-year-old’s reply has since been liked over 50,000 times.

Mac Allister was back at Brighton for the first time since Argentina beat France on penalties in the FIFA World Cup final on December 18.

The 24-year-old featured six times in Qatar for La Albiceleste. He provided an assist for Ángel Di María in the final, and bagged his first international goal in Argentina’s crucial 2-0 win over Poland in the final round of games in Group C.

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BBC Sport readers voted the Albion star the player of the match in the final – with an average rating of 8.01 – after his inch-perfect pass allowed Di Maria to fire home on 36 minutes to give La Albiceleste a 2-0 lead.

The Argentinian also wrote his name into Brighton & Hove Albion folklore, becoming the first Seagulls player in the club’s 121-year history to win the FIFA World Cup.