City star Buendia reveals Messi's Argentina intervention
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Emi Buendia has revealed how Lionel Messi convinced him to swap his international allegiance from Spain to Argentina.
The Norwich City star was assigned the thankless task of halting the Barcelona legend in his tracks while playing for Spanish side Getafe - and has detailed a conversation that saw him swap the red of La Furia Roja for the blue and white of his birth country.
"At half-time, I was surprised because we were on the same wing and he asked me something, but I couldn't hear him.
"I said, "Sorry? What did you say?". He asked me about that situation, as I was playing with Spain's under-19s. He asked, "What do you want to do?". I said, "Relax, I want to play for Argentina; I want to play with you!".
"I was 18 - it was a dream for me to play against him. Chatting to him was an incredible situation."
"It's a dream to play for the national side. I work every day to try and get an opportunity."
Buendia - who was speaking to FourFourTwo magazine - has starred in a prosperous campaign for the Canaries so far this season. The midfielder has scored 12 times and assisted 16 as City march towards an instant top-flight return.
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City could even clinch promotion on Saturday if they beat Derby County and rivals Brentford and Swansea both drop points.
Despite that achievement edging ever closer, City's creator in chief is targeting more silverware with the club after winning the Championship title two years ago.
"The level in the Premier League was a very big jump. We started really well, but then lost consistency with results and that cost us. I learned a lot.
"Hopefully we'll be there again soon. It's in our hands to secure promotion and we want to be champions again. The feeling two years ago was amazing. To win a title is the best thing in this sport," Buendia added.
A trio of Spanish sides, including La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid, have been linked with the 24-year-old ahead of the summer, but Buendia has reiterated that he remains focused on the task at hand at Norwich.
"Every footballer is happy to see big clubs linked - it means you're doing your job well - but I'm 100 percent focused on doing my job here so we achieve our goals at the club."