Villarreal winger Samuel Chukwueze has stated that his debut for Nigeria in Tuesday’s international friendly fixture against the Cranes of Uganda marked an important landmark for him in 2018.
The winger was handed a starting shirt by coach Gernot Rohr and featured for 45 minutes before he was substituted for Samuel Kalu.
Days before the international break, the youngster who recently earned promotion to the first team of Villarreal scored his first LaLiga goal in their 2-2 draw with Rayo Vallecano.
Chukwueze admits he was caught by surprise when he received his senior call-up, and was delighted with the opportunity.
“Making my debut for Nigeria only completes a dream year in my prokfessional life,” Chukwueze told BBC Sport.
“I’ve played and scored for Villarreal this year, and I never expected to get a chance to get into the Super Eagles team, but everything is happening like a dream.
“Some people wait for several years to live a dream but I am grateful to Villarreal and Nigeria for making all my dreams happen in under a year.”
The forward who has been likened to Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben is hoping to emulate his hero.
“My friends started the whole Arjen Robben comparison because of my playing style and I consider him as my first football hero,” Chukwueze added.
“I know there is still a lot for me to do to even come close to what he has achieved in football, so I am not getting carried away.
“At Villarreal the officials keep reminding me of another Nigerian – Ikechukwu Uche – who they regard as a legend at the club and they’ve told me to try to emulate his ways on and off the pitch.
“I have some big players to look up to and I hope to continue my best to achieve more dreams with both Villarreal and Nigeria.”
Chukwueze will hope to make his third La Liga appearance when Villarreal host Real Betis at Estadio de la Ceramica on Sunday.