Lionel Messi has expressed his fears over the Super Eagles of Nigeria which the Albeceleste of Argentina will be facing in a group D encounter. In an interview, he spoke of how it would be difficult playing against Nigeria because they are not only strong but also little is known of them. He said, “We don’t know so much about Nigeria but the African teams are normally compact, tough and strong. So it will be no walkover.”
The statement from the Barcelona forward was corroborated earlier in the week by former team mate, Javier Mascherano who said “Nigeria is quite well known to us, we’ve always met in the last World Cups. They are tough, not just because of their physical power, but because their disorganisation has the effect of disorganising you as a rival and that is when teams like ours suffer the most.”
Messi was missing when his side faced the Super Eagles in a friendly game in Russia which they lost 4-2 last November. His last game against the African side was in the last edition of the world cup in Brazil which saw him score two goals with the match ending 3-2 in favor of Argentina.
Aside his comments about the Nigerian team, Messi also revealed, his thoughts on Argentina’s chances and his future with the Albeceleste:
“Our challenge is to be champions,” said the Barcelona superstar.
“We know it won’t be easy but I’m certain that Argentina has a squad capable of being a champion in Russia. If the players all believe the same then we can be contenders.”
“It’s true that the qualifying phase was complicated for us because we took too long to do it,” he said.
“But the important thing is that we are here in this World Cup and that we give everything to achieve as much as we can.
“If Argentina goes out there and plays as we know we can then it will be very difficult to beat us.
“We have experienced World Cups before and we know that every rival will come out to try and beat us and play the game as if it is a final. That always makes it more complicated. But we are used to it.
“It will be important to start strongly. Iceland did well in their last tournament so the first match will not be comfortable. But these are the ones to win if you don’t want the next matches to be even more complicated.”
“Croatia is a good team with players in the big European leagues and that makes them dangerous,” said Messi.