Lionel MESSI has become a phenomenon of some sort in recent times. Followers of the Primera Liga have always known him to be impossible but what was left of the gen pop who new him not came to the know a few weeks ago when in his characteristic displays, he single handedly took Arsenal FC to the cleaners at the Camp Nou during the return leg of the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final. While so many football followers were amazed by the possibilities of a MESSI romance with the round leather, Nigerian Football fans are not new to his torments. In two occasions Messi has been a cause of heartbreak to Nigerians. First in 2005 @ Holland when the Mikel OBI lead Siasia’s team put up a performance that was something to be proud of at the U-20 world cup that took them to the final only to be undone by Messi.
As usual, Argentina weren’t really in it as the Nigerians looked better in every department. However, Messi’s skills were too much for us to cope with and we lost 2-1 conceding the title to the Argies.
At the last Olympic games, Nigeria found their way to the Final again. Unlike in 1996 when we won the Gold at the expense of the Argentines, it was not to be especially with Messi in the side. For the duration of the game, We were able to keep him quiet but it took just 2 seconds of magic for Messi to create the decider and that was that. Two time unlucky against Messi. Are we going to be third time lucky here?
We have been drawn against Argentina in our first group match just like in Japan-Korea 2002. In 2002, though the Argentines paraded the likes of Crespo, Sebastin VERON and BATISTUTA who of course were very big names at the time and were regarded as top favourites for the championship, we predictably lost though 1-0. This time, they do not just have a formidable team of players like Higuain, Aguero, Carlos TEVEZ, Riquelme, to mention but just a few, but they also have the almighty MESSI. The reigning world footballer of the year is even more deadly now that when he won the Ballon D’ Or and with his help, Barcelona has gone on to win six trophies in one year. What a perfect time to be in such devastating form. If that doesn't scare you, then nothing will. Unfortunately Lars Lagerback will be the first gaffer to attempt to outwit this wizkid in his own game and i’m sure every other manager will be hoping to learn a thing or two from Lagerback. Will he succeed? Twice we have been unable to stop this man when he was just a budding talent. Can the Super Eagles stop this Mature Messi on the third attempt?