19 May 2018

Nigeria: Balogun Reveals How Eagles Will Stop Messi in Russia

Photo: The Guardian
Leon Balogun

Super Eagles and Mainz central defender, Leon Balogun, has revealed the steps the Super Eagles will take to prevent Barcelona superstar, Lionel Messi, from scoring when they face off with Argentina at the 2018 World Cup.

The Argentina number ten has been directly involved in six goals (four goals, two assists) in five appearances against the Super Eagles in the past, and Balogun's main task on June 26 is to stop the striker from scoring.

But Balogun has admitted that he will need help from his teammates to stop the rampaging Messi from causing havoc.

"As a team, we have to put an end to Messi's Argentinian game. Balogun told Allgemeine Zeitung. "If the ball goes to Messi, we'll have to win the duels and hurt them, of course, within a legal framework."

Balogun is optimistic that the Super Eagles will qualify for the last sixteen of the World Cup and how they perform in their fourth match will depend on the form of the players.

"We want to survive the group phase, and best of all first. How far we go in the knockout phase depends on our form that day," Balogun stated.

Read More: Fitness key to Nigeria's success in Russia, says Leon Balogun

Speaking further, Balogun said: "In the games, 180 million people sit in front of television in Nigeria alone. Two hearts are beating in me, one German and one Nigerian, and both pretty loud."

If Balogun is declared fit by Super Eagles medics, he is expected to partner William Troost-Ekong in central defense at the tournament in Russia, with Abdullahi Shehu and Brian Idowu tipped to fill the fullback spots.

Meanwhile, Super Eagles midfielder, Oghenekaro Etebo, is set to lead Las Palmas when they take on Girona in their Spanish LaLiga final game of the season today.

According to allnigeriasoccer.com, the C.D. Feirense loanee is the only Nigerian player included in Las Palmas's 18-man squad for the clash at Estadio de Gran Canaria, meaning Emmanuel Emenike will end his stay in the Canary Islands without playing a single game for the club.

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