Dapo Sotuminu, Lagos
Super Eagles striker, Kelechi Iheanacho, said he is perfecting his plans to hurt his football idol right from when he was a youth player at Manchester City academy, Lionel Messi and his country Argentina when they play against Nigeria in the Russia 2018 World Cup Group D at the Saint-Petersburg Stadium on June 26.
Gernot Rohr’s side will battle for second round ticket against Croatia, Iceland and La Albiceleste in Group D of the global tournament.
However, Nigeria only gets to play against Argentina in their final group game on June 26 as their campaign starts with a meeting with the Fiery Ones.
Although, the Leicester City is delighted with ‘memory’ he would have of lining up against the Argentina captain at the Saint-Petersburg Stadium, he aims to get one over him.
“I’ve had the opportunity to train with him when I was at the Manchester City Academy and he is something else,” Iheanacho told LCFC TV.
“I hope we get something against them and he’s going to play, so it’s going to be something good, a memory to play against Messi. He’s one of my idols so I look up to him.
“He’s so many people’s idol in the world so he’s a player you like to play with, to learn something, of course, so I will be happy to play against him.
“Of course, after 90 minutes, we’ll see what happens and hopefully we’ll get something.”
On his thought about Super Eagles’ group, he said: “It’s a difficult group, I think the most difficult if you ask me, but people will think it is not the most difficult.
“It’s going to be a difficult group because all the countries are strong and trying to get something as well.
“The countries, they are not messing around, they are strong countries so everyone will be strong and looking to get points to go through to the next round.”
The former youth international – part of Nigeria’s 30-man provisional squad for the quadrennial tournament in Russia – also spoke of his pride at representing the three-time African champions at international level.
“Right from when I was little, I always had this dream of playing for country,” he said.
“Of course, I worked hard to get to that place but I think I will always have this dream of playing for my country and wearing the green, white, green and it feels good for me.
“I love it so I’m proud to be playing for my country and to wear the green, white, green so it’s something everyone wishes to do, to play for their country.”