Thiago Almada motivated to ‘accomplish something in Atlanta’ 


Add the Transfermarkt MLS Player of the Season to Thiago Almada’s impressive resume.

The 2023 MLS Young Player of the Year and World Cup winner was honored with the award following his first media availability of the year Thursday at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground. He received the trophy as an honor from the community at Transfermarkt, a worldwide football-specific platform.

Almada spent most of the club’s preseason with the Argentina U-23 men’s national team at the CONMEBOL Pre-Olympic tournament. Argentina earned qualification with a 1-0 win in Venezuela over the defending gold medalists Brazil. The result eliminated Brazil from the 2024 Olympic Games and secured Argentina’s ticket to Paris.

“It was very important for me,” Almada said. “The most important thing was to help the group to qualify for the Olympics, but for me it’s always important to help the national team.”

The midfielder said that the Olympics is a very important tournament for Argentina, and his play on the pitch proved it during the Pre-Olympic tournament. Almada led the competition in scoring with five goals, including a brace and an assist in the match against Chile on January 31.

Almada returned to Atlanta the week leading up to the club’s first match of the 2024 regular season. Although he missed all of the team’s five preseason friendlies and the 12-day trip to Florida, Almada seems confident about integrating with the group.

Despite not having much of an offseason, physically Almada said he’s feeling good. Mentally, the midfielder said he feels “motivated.”

“I’m always happy to be out on the field and playing, so I feel good with a lot of motivation,” he said. “[My motivation is] To try to accomplish something with Atlanta, because last season we weren’t able to reach our goals. Hopefully, this season we can.”

Thiago Almada was presented with the Transfermarkt Player of the Season award

Almada, a finalist for last season’s MLS MVP, made the starting XI and played a full 90 minutes in Atlanta’s first match on February 24. To kick off 2024, the schedule gave Atlanta a daunting task: facing off against the defending MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew at Field. Even though the season began with a loss for Atlanta, a tough 1-0 battle, Almada and the team learned a lot from the result. 

“Even though I didn’t spend a lot of time with the team in preseason, we wanted to play the same way,” he said. “In the first game against Columbus, they dominated the first half and we did in the second half. As a team, we’re working on playing together and continuing to improve the things we want to. There’s always room to improve.”

Atlanta United has a bye this week (a very early season bye), and next plays March 9 when they host Eastern Conference opponent New England Revolution. It’s the first home match of the season for Atlanta United – and the first time the team has played competitively at Mercedes-Benz Stadium since the 4-2 win over Columbus Crew in Game 2 of the Round One Best-of-3 Series in the MLS Cup Playoffs in November.

“It’s extra motivation for us,” Almada said. “We’re excited for that first home game with our fans.”

Almada will have more chances to play right here at home with his country in 2024. Argentina will kick off the Copa America tournament on June 20, which means Almada could be playing at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with La Albiceleste, the defending World Cup champions.

“It’s a goal to be on the field in that game. And if not, I’ll be there cheering,” he said.

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