Nigeria World Cup Focus: Lionel Messi wary of Super Eagles threat

Nigeria World Cup Focus: Lionel Messi wary of Super Eagles threat
Alex Iwobi (R) of Nigeria celebrates with his teammate Brian Idowu (L) after scoring the 2-2 equalizer during the International Friendly soccer match between Argentina and Nigeria in Krasnodar, Russia, 14 November 2017. EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

by Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday May 29, 2018. 17:00

Argentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi reckons Nigeria will be a tough opponent at the 2018 FIFA World Cup next month.

The West Africans are in the same group with Albiceleste and the dribbling wizard remains wary of the Super Eagles.

Nigeria will cross paths against the South Americans for the fifth time at the World Cup when hostilities kick off in Russia.

Although Argentina have emerged victorious in in their previous four encounters with Nigeria at the World Cup, the midfielder has respect for Gernot Rohr’s men.

Messi who has joined up with his teammates as they intensify preparations for the 2018 World Cup, says Argentina are in a tough group.

The five-time FIFA Best Player award winner hints that he does not see himself playing for another European club aside from Barcelona.

“We have to take it match by match,” Messi said in an interview with Pasión por el Fútbol.

“Starting off with a win is important because it’ll then make us calmer. It’s not an easy group. Iceland showed in the Euros that they can go up against anyone.

“Croatia has a very good midfield and if you let them, they’ll control the ball all match long. They have Spain’s style. And it always costs us when we play Nigeria.

“It becomes more and more clear that Barcelona will be my only team in Europe. After that, I have always said I want to play football in Argentina, but I don’t know if it will happen. I have it in mind.

“I’d like to live it, be it for six months or a few matches but I don’t know. One never knows.

"My dream was to play for Newell’s as a kid, going to the matches with my dad, my brothers, friends… after that; circumstances in life took me elsewhere, but I still have that in mind.”

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