September, 4 2023.
Playing on the same football pitch or alongside Argentina's World Cup winning captain, Lionel Messi has been described as a lifetime opportunity that will forever be treasured. This assertion was made by former Flying Eagles player, Obinna Nwobodo, who presently plys his trade with FC Cincinnati, in the American Major League Soccer (MLS).
Speaking exclusively to www.ckdmedia.ng about how it felt sharing the same pitch with Lionel Messi; Nwobodo had this to say.
"Lionel Messi has been a hero of the game, and a role model to me personally. I watched him so many times, while playing in the Nigerian League. But I never knew a day will come that I will be sharing the same pitch with the maestro".
Nwobodo whose last club in the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) was Enugu Rangers, added that he may not have the exact words to describe how he felt, but the joy and ecstasy of rubbing shoulders with the multiple Balloon D'Or winner, would remain fresh in his memory throughout his entire life.
"I felt this goosebumps on my body, but in the game of football, you just have to give it your best, so I decided to stop idolizing him and started seeing him as any other opponent, in a game of football.
"Honestly, playing alongside Leo on the same pitch was great. It was a good game too, and we gave it our best. But they won, I'm just glad to have played against him"!
Lionel Messi's Inter Miami won the US Open Cup semifinals on the road against FC Cincinnati, despite falling behind 0-2, to the very physical MLS table-toppers.
Messi provided two assists to Leo Campana for a late comeback, with the second coming seven minutes deep into added time to draw level at 2-2.
Josef Martinez struck early in extra-time on a feed from substitute Benji Cremaschi to give Inter Miami the lead, but Yuya Kubo scored as FC Cincinnati grabbed their own equalizer in the 114th minute.
In the penalty shootout, Imter Miami keeper Callender stopped Nick Hagglund's effort in the fifth round to set up the win, and Cremaschi scored his spot-kick to send David Beckham's MLS franchise through to yet another Cup final, just days after securing the club's first-ever trophy, as Lionel Messi remain unbeaten in pink.
Obinna Nwobodo was part of the Rangers squad that won the NPFL title in 2016, under the watchful eyes of Coach Imama Amapakabo.
The 26-year-old combative midfielder, joined FC Cincinnati from Turkey Liga side, Götzepe FC in 2022 and has scored once in about 45 appearances for the MLS side.