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Spanish publication, Tribuna, has revealed the reason why Argentina’s Lionel Messi was able to score against Nigeria at the Russia 2018 World Cup.


Prior to the March 26, 2018 match, Messi had fired blank in the preceding two matches against Iceland and Croatia. In fact, in the match with Iceland, the iconic footballer missed a penalty kick!


The match with Nigeria was more than ordinary to Messi who had told the world that he was quitting international matches if Argentina failed at the World Cup.


Despite his prowess and laurels, Messi had not won any trophy playing for the national side. If the team failed to beat Nigeria in Russia, Argentina could have crashed out of the tournament at the group stage.



According to Tribuna, Messi was presented with a red lucky ribbon from journalist Rama Pantarotto after missing a penalty in Argentina’s 1-1 draw against Iceland during the World Cup in Russia.


“Wearing the journalist’s mother’s lucky charm, the 31-year-old scored in against Nigeria.The Barca star wore the lucky charm against the Nigerian Eagles as he revealed to Pantarotto after the game.”

Sports Village Square recalls that a Black Magic was reported to have aided Lionels Messi and the rest of La Albiceleste in their qualification for Russia 2018. 

In October 2017, Argentina did the unthinkable picking a World Cup ticket at the brink of either losing out or at best having to go through a play-off to qualify. How did it happen?

According to Washington Post which quoted two Argentine publications, TyC Sports and La Clarin,  a sorcerer called Manuel was flown to Ecuador to cast magic wands that will aid Argentina beat their hosts.


It was claimed that the man with a shoulder-length mullet flew to Ecuador to “bring good energy” to the team, which had floundered badly in the World Cup qualifiers and was in danger of being eliminated from making the tournament for the first time since 1970.


According to Spanish publication, Tribuna,  Messi during the week proved himself a true leader by giving the ribbon (charm he used in the match with Nigeria) to struggling Phillipe Coutinho prior to Sevilla demolition where the Brazilian scored a brace.

Phillipe Coutinho (right) wearing the lucky charm (marked with red ring) Lionel Messi wore in the World Cup match with Nigeria.

Phillipe Coutinho was spotted wearing Messi’s lucky ribbon against Sevilla in the Copa del Rey quarterfinal as the Brazilian scored the opener in the 13th minute of the clash. It was a special moment as Leo who won the penalty handed the 26-year-old an opportunity to open the score and change the tie.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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