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Mikel Arteta hails ex-Nigerian winger Babandiga

Former Nigerian winger Haruna Babandiga has been hailed by Mikel Arteta but the Arsenal boss regrets he never made a major impact. 

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Babandiga signed for Barcelona youth academy from Ajax in 1998 at the age of 15 and was termed as the next big player in European football.  He featured for Barcelona’s LA Mesia with the likes of Arteta, Xavi Hernandez, Carles Puyol, and Pepe Reina. 

The former Nigerian international grabbed 44 goals in 110 appearances but never managed to play for the first team. 

“In our dorms at Barcelona, we had Pepe Reina, Victor Valdes, Andres Iniesta, and Carles Puyol. But I remember there was this boy called Haruna Babangida,” he told TheAthletic.com. 

“Wow! at 15, he was the best player in the world,” he added. 

The 37-year-old only capped for the Super Eagles came in 2003 in 3-0 defeat to Japan.

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Augustine Aminu

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