Paddy Power News can exclusively reveal that seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi wears Nathan Collins-patterned pyjamas.
Grown in a lab in Leixlip, Co. Kildare, the Burnley centre-half announced his arrival as the game’s pre-eminent defensive playmaking force with a slaloming solo goal against Ukraine on Tuesday evening that drew comparisons to some of football’s all-time greats.
Ukraine 0-1 Ireland – Nathan Collins puts the visitors in front with a sensational individual goal having delivered a 'masterclass' of defending in the first half hour #rtesoccer #UKRvIRL
📻 https://t.co/QHSJNYlfx8 pic.twitter.com/y0ulAtOn6J
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) June 14, 2022
“Like Georgie Best but better,” said @Reddestdevil59 on Twitter, while @GolsdosSelecao remarked “Ronaldo Nazario??!? Nathaninho Collinsio! #Fenomeno”.
And the stunning strike even prompted ex-Barcelona legend and current PSG moper Lionel Messi to post a photograph on his private Instagram account in his Nathan Collins PJs followed by a goat emoji.
We reached out to a source close to the Argentine for further comment.
“Leo’s been a fan for some time – Collins was captain at Stoke at 18, and he’s heard enough about it to know that you can do it on a wet Wednesday night, well, you’ve got to have something about you,” they explained.
“And since the move to Burnley he’s been keeping a close eye on things – it’s not like he’s had much to do… Well, besides telling Neymar it’s not his sister’s birthday yet.”
“Every week of the season.”
And the 34-year-old is such a fan of the rising Irish colossus that he had the sleeping wear custom-made during the season.
“You want to know why Sergio Ramos has done f**k all here? He saw Messi’s Nathan threads and flipped,” we were told. “His heads not been right since.”
“Not that it was right before, but you know what I mean.”
Meanwhile, Irish football chiefs are basking in the glow of Collins’ success following the experimental player development approach.
“We took the DNA of Franz Beckenbauer, Paul McGrath and Paolo Maldini, swirled it all around in test tube like Jurassic Park, and 21 years later we’ve the greatest footballing specimen on the planet,” an FAI spokesperson said.
“Unfortunately, securing those samples took up most of the budget, so we’re still waiting on the Joey Lapira, Mickey Evans and Jon Goodman experiment to deliver a striker.”
Collins’ goal has already been hailed by many as the greatest goal in the history of Irish football since last Saturday afternoon following Michael Obafemi’s thunderbolt versus Scotland.
“It’s definitely in the top three goals Ireland have scored this June,” one euphoric Ireland supporter noted.
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