Leon Balogun was delighted to make his debut for Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion in their 1-1 draw with Charlton Athletic on Tuesday night.
The Super Eagles star, who was in action for 64 minutes for the Seagulls, did not resume pre-season training with the rest of his teammates due to his participation at the 2018 World Cup.
West Berlin-born Balogun was unarguably Nigeria’s most important defender in Russia, where he faced the likes of Mario Mandžukić (Croatia), Alfreð Finnbogason (Iceland) and Lionel Messi (Argentina).
”It’s an experience that will bring you forward as a player. I am 30 years old, but to play Lionel Messi, who is the best in the world in my opinion, was a great test for me,” Balogun said to Brighton’s official website.
”We also played Croatia, who went to the final and they were a very experienced side.
”It was a great challenge and we were hoping to get further into the knockout stages, but it wasn’t to be.”
Brighton will tackle Birmingham City and Nantes in friendly matches before their Premier League opener against Isaac Success’ Watford on August 11.