- Ikechukwu Ezenwa has opened up on how he got Lionel Messi' jersey after Argentina's slim win over Nigeria
- The former Enyimba goalkeeper said he and the Barca star exchanged kits unlike the reports claiming he begged the south American for it
- The Super Eagles crashed out of the global football showpiece at the group stage after losing two of their three matches
Ikechukwu Ezenwa has insisted that he did not beg Lionel Messi for his jersey after Argentina beat Nigeria 2-1 at the 2018 FIFA World Cup competition in Russia.
A goal each from the Barcelona forward and Marcos Rojo propelled the south American country to the round of 16 stage of the championship.
Although, they former champions were also bundled out of the competition at the first knockout stage by eventual winners France.
The current Katsina United goaltender has now explained his side of the story contrary to what filtered into the media after Nigeria crashed out of the tourney.
"I played against Lionel Messi when we lost to then in Beiging in 2008, and for the fact that he is someone I have seen as a simple person," Ezenwa told Legit.ng.
"Immediately after the game, I was on my way to the dressing room, though, he was coming and I met him to introduce myself having played against each other in China about ten years back.
"So I asked him if we could have a change of shirt, and he said oh no problem which he immediately pulled and gave to me while i do likewise.
"He was going for press conference and he took my jersey along with him, which means my jersey is in Argentine and his own is in my room.
"And Nigerians were like I went there to beg Messi for jersey, but it is just the spirit of sportsmanship and I don't regret having his jersey."
The former Enyimba and IfeanyiUnah FC shot stopper also revealed that ending the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on a winning note excited everybody in camp.
Odion Ighalo, Henry onyekuru and Moses Simon all scored a goal each to help the Super Eagles finish atop of Group E despite losing their first game to South Africa.
"Everybody is happy because victory brings a lot of joy and give confidence ahead of any other game ahead.
"The match was not all that easy but we did everything possible to wrap it up with victory after qualifying with a match to spare.
"It is a way of thanking God after losing the first qualifying fixture against South Africa, and still went ahead to qualify with a game left.
"Now everyone is happy in camp and are looking forward to the friendly game against Egypt on Tuesday."
When asked what he told Francis Uzoho after his blunder which led to Seychelles' equaliser, Ezenwa said he had to encourage him and asked him to push that mistake behind him.
"I just told him that boy, you have to carry on, nobody is above mistake, you just have to talk to your defenders and do your thing," Ezenwa continued.
"Keep the thing behind you and focus on the game because that is the most important thing - in this career and in normal life, we are bound to make mistakes.
"Thank God he went back in, composed himself and we won the game at the end, so I was just giving him a pep talk like my younger brother.
"So I had to encourage him and know that it is one of the things you face in football." he concluded.
Legit.ng earlier reported that Super Eagles keeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa has joined Kastina United ahead of the 2019 Nigeria Professional Football League season.
The former IfeanyiUbah goaltender was spotted having medicals before his proposed move to the northern based NPFL side after the World Cup.
He was in the company of former Abia Warriors winger Sheriff Bashir for the assessment while the club's official Twitter handle confirmed the news.
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I didn't beg Messi for his jersey - Super Eagles Goalkeeper, Ezenwa| Legit TV