Nigeria will take delight in ending potentially Lionel Messi’s last World Cup for Argentina despite their love and admiration for the five-time world player of the year, promised Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr.
Victory for the Africans in Saint Petersburg today will send Argentina home in disgrace after failing to win a game in Russia and send Nigeria into the last 16.
“We love this great player, Messi, everybody loves him,” said Rohr yesterday. “The question is not if it is the last World Cup for him or not, the question is for us to be qualified.
“We are not here to watch him playing. We are here to make a result, we are professionals. We are here to defend the colours of Nigeria and we know in football there is no mercy, no pity, everybody wants to win and we cannot make any gifts even if we like very much this player.”
Messi carried Argentina through a troubled qualifying campaign but has so far failed to fire in Russia, missing a penalty in a 1-1 draw with Iceland before Croatia thrashed the two-time world champions 3-0. Nigerian defender Brian Idowu admitted he would love Messi’s shirt as a momento, but also insisted he wants to send Argentina packing.
“Our main goal is that it will be Messi’s last World Cup game, as much as footballers we love watching him play,” said Idowu, who was born in Saint Petersburg and still plays his club football in Russia for Amkar Perm. – AFP.