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I didn’t fight Simon, I wanted Pepe’s jersey for my son – Finidi

Finidi George has explained why he is seen in a viral video appearing to jostle for Pepe’s jersey moments after the Super Eagles were beaten 4-0 by Portugal in a friendly on Thursday night.

The Super Eagles assistant coach is seen in the video seemingly unhappy that Moses Simon got to the Portugal defender first to exchange jerseys, and Nigerian fans were disappointed that the former international was more concerned about the souvenir than the embarrassing performance and result in Lisbon.

Finidi, who won the Africa Cup of Nations with the Super Eagles in 1994 and the UEFA Champions League with Ajax in 1995, has explained that it was not himself he wanted Pepe’s jersey for.

“My son asked me two weeks ago if it’s possible to get the shirt of Ronaldo or Pepe because he was a very big fan of Real Madrid when they were at the club and I told him I would try,” Finidi, who also played in Spain for Real Betis, said in a post-match interview.

“Getting to the field, we knew Ronaldo wasn’t going to start because he was sick. So I told Pepe in the tunnel, ‘please after the game, I would like to have the shirt for my son’.

“So, he told me that was fine. After the game, I saw he was changing his shirt with one of the players and I went to remind him of what we said in the tunnel before the game started.

“He said he was going to give his shirt to a Super Eagles player (Zaidu Sanusi) playing in his club (Porto), and that definitely, I will get the shirt. I was speaking Spanish with him and that was it.”

Finidi also wondered why there was so much fuss about the incident.

“People just want to twist things,” he noted. “I’ve had many jerseys in my playing days and I don’t need Pepe’s shirt for myself.

“Where am I going to keep it? I don’t have a museum. It’s just that my son is a big fan and wanted me to ask.

“That’s what I did. I don’t know how getting something for my son and becomes viral on social media. It’s crazy! I thought we should be talking about the game. But it’s like I’m trending.”

The defeat to Portugal was Nigeria’s fifth in consecutive friendly matches in 2022 following losses to Ecuador, Mexico, Algeria and Costa Rica.

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