Ramon Azeez, Nigerian News

Ramon Azeez, Super Eagles midfielder, says his goal against Barcelona was not the reason he got invited back to the team — after he was sidelined for more than five years.

Azeez, who got his first Eagles call-up on February 3, 2014, told TheCable that his hard work over the years earned him a return to the team.

“You know that I won’t say the game against Barcelona was the main factor that got me back into the Super Eagles team,” Azeez told TheCable.

“I will say that it’s the hard work that I have been putting into the play those years that got me back into the team.

“I feel very happy to be back with the Super a Eagles after five years. That’s shows that a lot of hard work I have put in through out that period.

“I think one of the things that made me stand out is my dedication and humbleness. That got me back here again.

“Through out those five years, I have been working hard a lot because if I had not been working hard, it may never have happened for me again. So, I may not be back here again.”

The Granada player also said he got “mild threats” from some Barcelona fans in Nigeria after he scored the opener in the game against the La Liga giant in September.

“Before the Barcelona game, our coach told us that we just have to go out on the pitch strongly because we started the season very well,” he said.

“That we should continue with what we’ve been doing and when we started the game and within 2 minutes of play the goal came.

“I feel very happy that some people that never believed in us before the game called to congratulate and rejoice with us.”

“I got a lot of messages that night, some people insulted me that I cut their betting tickets. While some called to congratulate me.

“Some of my friends that are Barcelona fans called me that I scored against their team that I should not worry that it won’t be that easy next time.

“Some people even sent me messages on social media that I shouldn’t come to Lagos that if they catch me, they will deal with me.

“So, I told them that it was nothing that I just have to do my job and protect it as well.”

The former youth international, who has been plying his trade in Spain since 2011, said he is not disappointed that it took him five years to get back to the team.

“No, I am not disappointed that it took me five years to come back into the team (Eagles). All I kept telling myself was that I just have to keep working hard till another opportunity comes my way,” Ramon Azeez said.

“And as you can see now, I am back into the team. What I have always told myself is that, anytime I am given the opportunity to play, I just have to put my feet on the ground and play.”

The 26-year-old made a cameo appearance in Nigeria’s 1-1 draw against Brazil — during the international friendly in Singapore.

He was also an unused substitute as the Eagles laboured to a hard-fought win over Benin Republic — during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state.