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Messi: Nigeria Has Always Been Tough For Argentina At World Cup Finals

Messi: Nigeria Has Always Been Tough For Argentina At World Cup Finals

Argentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi has admitted that playing against the Super Eagles of Nigeria has always been a difficult encounter for the Albiceleste.

The Super Eagles and La Albiceleste will cross paths for the fifth time at the World Cup when hostilities kick off in Russia.


Argentina have emerged victorious in in their previous four encounters with Nigeria at the World Cup.

Their last encounter in a friendly game last year saw the Super Eagles come from 2-0 down to wi 4-2.

Zenith Ziva

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

“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.”

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

“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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  • Go Eagles Go 3 years ago

    I somehow admire Messi for his mildness and humility. Talks less than the other man. But your “Nigeria has always been difficult for Argentina” analogy is fooling anyone. Beating Nigeria 5-1 looks easy to me I must say. Maybe, as the captain of Argentina, you have started the mind games antic. Unfortunately Nigeria don’t mind games. Come to think of it, why is this statement coming after a day of playing a vs Congo DR on a pitch which is eyesore making us play poorly. Maybe you are secretly glad that Nigeria played poorly. I will advice that you watch the vs England match on Saturday and other subsequent 2 matches to assess the Super Eagles. Meanwhile, I admire your humility and mildness. Keep it up.

  • messi is definitely saying the truth, considering the fact that Nigeria play with second team, only the keeper, the defence are regular players in the team. remember in 2014, Nigeria played poorly against Iran and the Albacete thought that they can easily win Iran with their one foot. it takes them 89minutes to scored one thanks to messi experience himself. after the game they suffer to beat the same super eagle by a goal margin. so if anyone thought that messi is looking forward to beating the eagle who defeated that 4 to 2 six months ago 5 to 1, so that person is not understanding the chemistry of the game at all. I say kudos to messi bcoz he understood the fact that Nigeria is still experimenting the team, eagle without his constant costumer (Mikel) and rejuvenating moses and much improved ndidi and ighalo, messi is fully aware that was why as the captain of Argentina team. he’s trying to open the eyes of his team not to dwell on eagle performance against Dr Congo. so let’s keep praying for our own super eagle, bcoz yesterday match is improved tactical approach by our manager and he deserved the applaud for all his strategies to do well at the mundial. up super eagle of Nigeria

  • This is what I like during World Cup season, the tension it brings is unimaginable.

  • chybyke 3 years ago

    We still don’t know what Rohr tactics is which makes Nigeria more unpredictable…Remember we played with 3 at the back against Argentina with 2 wing-backs.. Rohr is working on more tactics and we’ll surely prepare well against Croatia

  • chybyke 3 years ago

    something seems to worry me…Iceland and Croatia our opponents have both played Mexico and Peru in the friendly games..Iceland lost 2 nil and 3 nil respectively against Mexico and Peru..Croatia won against Mexico 1-0 and lost 2-0 against Peru…One thing clear is they seem to focus more on south and north American opposition… Croatia is going to play Brazil June 3rd,Another south American opposition..maybe they focus only on Argentina…Even Argentina will play Haiti and Israel…Only Iceland seems to take Nigeria serious as they’ll play a friendly against Ghana to familiarize with African football…..Can the neglect of adequate African exposure cost Croatia and Argentina?

  • No it can’t cost Argentina anything. See bro Argentina is planning a strategy that will make them qualify even before Nigeria game. Bcoz they know that Nigeria game is unpredictable even if they play Africa opposition, it won’t help either, Nigeria play better European style of football. ln the case of Croatia, I think they don’t understand their strategy against Nigeria yet because playing 3 teams from south American will not be enough for them and if they are not careful Iceland might even stand against them in their last match. For Nigeria, I don’t think we have problem knowing Argentina style bcoz we are costumer in the game already and we have played European teams more in friendlies and our records are still their to see. In the previous group stage matches Bulgaria and Greece in 1994, Spain in 1998. Bosnia in 2014, Nigeria won. Only for Sweden in 2002 lost England in 2002 draw and Greece 2010 lost in preliminary stage