The World Cup kick-off last month with 16 Manchester City players on showcase, representing their various national teams. All but one have now exited the competition with only Julian Alvarez remaining at the global showpiece. But the City forward is making a name for himself with Argentina.
Facing Croatia for the semi-final game on Tuesday night, the Argentine side may have come into the game under some pressure as the South American team is eager to see their talisman Lionel Messi crown his amazing career with a World Cup medal. One that could put him ahead of the queue in the argument about who is the greatest of all time.
Partnering Messi upfront, the City forward is proving to be a reliable partner that is helping lift the burden from his countryman for both personal and collective success. Starting from the bench at the beginning of the tournament, the 22-year-old has risen to become the preferred option alongside the Paris Saint Germain man upfront.
With four goals to his name so far, he ranks second behind Messi and France’ Kylian Mbappe who have each scored five in the tournament. He was in particularly scintillating form against Croatia as he won the penalty for the first goal, and went on to score two more to help fire Argentina to the World Cup final after securing a resounding 3-0 win against the European side.
His performance has elicited reactions from several quarters with most City faithful excited about the player’s showing. Although the focus has been on Messi as the star player in the team, Alvarez is making a statement that he be relied upon to deliver the goods when necessary.
After Messi opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 34th minute of the game, Alvarez took over. Two minutes later, the City forward made a darting run forward from the centre of the pitch, taking on the entire Croatian defence before slotting home the second goal. He was on hand to also score the third to end the contest and take his nation to a second World Cup final in eight years.
Whatever happens from here, whether Argentina go on to lift the trophy or fail again at the last hurdle, Alvarez has demonstrated that he is one of the best forwards around today.
Although he has had to spend much time on the bench since moving to the Etihad Stadium last summer, he will be a capable hand to help the club whenever he is needed.