Five-time Ballon D’Or winner, Lionel Messi has said Nigeria’s Super Eagles and Group D opponents will experience a changed Albiceleste side when the 2018 FIFA World Cup takes centre stage in Russia, AOIFootball.com can report.
In an exclusive interview with fifa.com, the FC Barcelona star posited that the Jorge Sampaoli-led team has put aside the intrigues of the qualifiers that saw them qualify on the final day and will be an improved team at the quadrennial tournament.
“We’ll be in good shape when we get there because we’re still growing. We had to go through something that we didn’t expect or deserve, because we had earlier matches against Venezuela and Peru that we could have won easily. If we had, then we wouldn’t have had to go through what we did at the end.
“We’ve had four competitive matches with a new coach, but the national team’s going to change now that the Ecuador game is behind us. It’s going to grow and it’s going to get rid of all the tension and fear it felt because of that match and because of the risk of not achieving our objective. The national team is going to change a lot,” Messi said.
The Super Eagles face Argentina on June 26 in Saint Petersburg. Both teams recently met in Krasnodar in an international friendly with the African side winning 4-2.