Why does Alexis Mac Allister have a British name?

Alexis Mac Allister of Argentina celebrates after their side scored their second goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar.
(Image credit: Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Alexis Mac Allister is one of Argentina's finest players at the World Cup… but with a name like that, there are some asking as to whether he actually is from Argentina. 

Just ask Simone Perrotta. The Italy midfielder was a member of the 2006 World Cup squad that lifted the Azzurri's fourth trophy but he's also the only player since 1966 to have been born on British soil. He was born in Ashton-under-Lyne, a market town in Tameside, Greater Manchester. 

But sorry to disappoint. Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Mac Allister – yes, there is a space in his name – isn't about to bring football home to Blighty. 

Alexis Mac Allister isn't actually British

Alexis Mac Allister of Brighton & Hove Albion celebrates a goal that is later disallowed following a VAR decision during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Leicester City at American Express Community Stadium on September 04, 2022 in Brighton, England.

Alexis Mac Allister has celtic roots (Image credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Alexis Mac Allister is the son of Carlos Mac Allister and nephews of Patricio Mac Allister, both retired footballers – they're all Argentinian. 

Mac Allister's family were originally from Fife in Eastern Scotland though, before moving to Ireland – before packing up and moving to South America in 1868. The ginger hair and the British name both remained, however. 

In fact, Lionel Messi actually defended Mac Allister when he was teased for his rather Scottish looks. 

“I trained with him when I was in the Argentinian squad twice, but I didn’t play with him,” Mac Allister told The Athletic (opens in new tab) of his international captain. “It was fantastic, the same as in the matches he trains. It’s something you cannot believe.

“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!’.”

Before you ask, no: Messi is not Scottish. 

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Mark White
Staff Writer

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.