RT exclusive guest host and mystic manager Jose Mourinho has picked ‘little fellow’ Lionel Messi to advance from a suffocatingly close Group D, dubbed by many as the tournament’s dreaded ‘group of death’.
“And in the Group D, I think the little fellow will finish first,” Mourinho says on Messi, before picking his second-place finishers as Nigeria. “Wow, this one is going to be hard, but I go for an African team.”
Messi was a losing finalist in 2014 and, despite the voluminous list of personal records and accolades and a trove of trophies at club level with Barcelona, many believe he will never quite justify being mentioned in the same bracket as the country’s most celebrated icon – Diego Maradona, until he breaks his World Cup duck.
Messi and Maradona are perhaps only separated by their notoriety and the World Cup. Maradona, arguably the game’s most complete number 10 to ever lace up a pair of boots, dragged La Albiceleste to the 1986 World Cup as captain.
Current skipper Messi has never won a major international trophy, having also twice been a Copa America final loser to Chile, making it a hat-trick of final defeats for a player widely considered the greatest of his era. The second loss to Chile precipitated a shock retirement decision from Messi, before being coaxed back into the international frame.
Now, aged 30, the player dubbed the ‘G.O.A.T’ by fans has the chance once again to take his team to glory, and Mourinho believes Russia is the stage for him to exorcise his major tournament demons, picking him to lead the South American nation out of the group, along with Super Eagles Nigeria, leaving Iceland frozen out with Croatia.
The group also possibly has the slickest strips as each team boasts an attractive kit that has already garnered significant attention before a ball has been kicked.
Lots of talk has spread around Super Eagles Nigeria and their kit; sports manufacturer Nike received 3 million orders for the quirky lime green strip, which sold out in minutes of going on sale in London.
An Ivan Rakitic-Luka Modric-led Croatia side kitted out in their famous checkered top. Iceland, almost everyone’s favorite hipster team, are competing in their first World Cup after announcing themselves on the international football scene at Euro 2016, where they advanced to the quarter-finals. But the Vikings will be going home early this summer, according to Mourinho.
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