An Argentine agronomist who was kidnapped in Nigeria has credited his release to his mention of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, Argentine media reported on Sunday.
Messi is a very popular figure in Nigeria among Barcelona fans and football fans in general, often sparking heated debate as he is compared with Cristiano Ronaldo at football-viewing centres across the vast country, completesportsnigeria.com reports.
"Tell them to thank Messi — naming him is what saved me," Santiago Menendez told his brother after his release Friday, two days after being kidnapped by an armed gang in central Nigeria, the newspaper Clarin reported Sunday.
The 28-year-old Menendez, who managed two farms for Nigerian Flour Mills Plc, said he shouted "Messi, Messi, Messi" to establish a rapport with the kidnappers, who freed him two days later in exchange for a ransom.
Messi is playing for Argentina in the Copa America in Chile.