Nigerian youngster Kelechi Iheanacho will have the opportunity of rubbing shoulders with the likes of 3-time Ballon D’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, world most expensive Footballer Gareth Bale, and the finest Colombian footballer of the modern era James Rodriguez when Manchester City host Real Madrid in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final.
The fuel scarcity in Nigeria may be a thing of huge worry and fans may have to depend on raising their small generators up so the little fuel they have could see them through the 90minutes game but one thing is for sure – they will be rooting for Iheanacho and his City teammates while all their worries will take the back seat.
Real Madrid are favourites mainly because of the scoring prowess of Ronaldo who has notched up a remarkable 93 Champions League goals and currently holds the title ‘topscorer’ of the most prestigious club football tournament in the world.
The other semifinal between Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich may also be a huge game but the focus of Nigerians will definitely be glued to the Etihad and Bernabeu, home grounds of Manchester City and Real Madrid respectively.
Iheanacho’s rise with the Citizens has been mind-blowing with manager Manuel Pellegrini dropping former Arsenal star Samir Nasri from the Champions League squad for the in-form 19-year-old who may be on the verge of history.
From his first Premier League goal against Crystal Palace to his first hat-trick against Aston Villa the former FIFA Under-17 World Cup Most Valuable Player has grown in stature and confidence for the big-time.
Nigerians support their own and not even the scary stats of Ronaldo and the Real Madrid team can sway their support for the young but talented Kelechi Iheanacho.