Alexis Mac Allister has revealed that Lionel Messi jumped to his defence in an Argentina training session, with the Paris Saint-Germain superstar warning the rest of their team-mates to stop calling him "ginger".
Mac Allister has been included in Argentina's latest squad for their final World Cup qualifying fixtures against Chile and Colombia, having impressed for Brighton in the first half of the 2021-22 campaign.
The 23-year-old has two senior caps to his name so far and also starred for his country's U23s at the Tokyo Olympics last summer, but is still waiting to play his first game alongside Messi.
The Seagulls midfielder bonded with Messi in a somewhat unexpected fashion while on international duty last year, avoiding becoming the butt of a personal joke thanks to the 34-year-old's intervention.
“I remember everyone called me ‘Colo’, which is ginger in Argentina. I don’t like it much and he told the team-mates that. He said, ‘He doesn’t like to be called Colo, so don’t call him that!’.”