Bryan Idowu: Messi brings out the best in defenders
World Cup 2018 By: Lolade Adewuyi | 03/07/2018
Nigeria defender Bryan Idowu was handed the enormous task of following every move of Argentina star Lionel Messi during their game in Saint Petersburg on June 26. The Super Eagles lost the game 2-1 and exited the competition in the group stage. But Idowu, 26, reflected over playing against one of the best players in the world in this exclusive interview with FCNaija.com.The Amkar Perm defender came under criticism for his lack of attacking foray after the defeat to La Albiceleste. Journalists questioned coach Gernot Rohr for keeping him in the game when he did not contribute to the Nigerian attack. In this interview, he explains the tactical setup and why he did not go forward like his opposite number, Victor Moses, who played in the right fullback position.Tell us about your battle with Lionel MessiIt [was] hard, of course, because if you give him just a little bit of space, the first goal that’s how it happened. That was the only time I think we didn’t manage to stop him. He went behind and got the ball and scored. Afterwards, we tried to stop him and get the ball away from him but other players came in and helped him. Messi is that kind of player that keeps showing he can go anywhere. He is spectacular and a good dribbler; he’s the best player in the world for a reason. Just his presence opens up space for other players.How difficult was it playing against Messi on your right foot?I think it did not matter that much because Messi can go anywhere. Of course, he loves his left foot and will try to go to the left mostly. But if you try to leave him with space on the right he will still go there and then weave back. Just by the way he moves and turns and weaves around, it is just hard to think if you cover the left leg then you’re going to stop him. He can still move to the right and he scored today with the right leg. Mentally, he keeps you in the game with 100% focus because he can go anywhere. You have to try to play him as hard as you can. He brings out the best out of you as a defender as well.