French superstar Paul Pogba is in the line of fire.
French superstar Paul Pogba is in the line of fire.

‘I want to nutmeg Pogba’: Aussie’s cocky call

TALK about confidence.

Australian youngster Daniel Arzani is no certainty to make the final cut for the Socceroos' 23-man squad that will land in Russia for next month's World Cup.

The talented teenager is duelling for one of the last forward spots, but after taking the A-League by storm this season he's forced himself into the frame.

In part, he's done it because he strongly believes in his own ability - as he showed on Tuesday when he took part in a question and answer session on Twitter.

In the chat, Arzani identified Ronaldinho as his favourite player - and the one who he'd love to have the traits of.

But the chat took a cheeky turn when Arzani was asked which player he looked "forward to nut megging most in the finals".

Socceroos youngster Daniel Arzani has one huge name in his sights in Russia.
Socceroos youngster Daniel Arzani has one huge name in his sights in Russia.

No shrinking violet, Arzani responded "I want to nutmeg Pogba", the Manchester United star who he could line up against in group C.

No pressure.

The video was quickly deleted from NAB's Twitter account, but not before it had been seen - and screenshotted - by fans.

Meanwhile, Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak has joined with his opposing team leaders at the World Cup in calling for Peru's banned skipper to be allowed to play in Russia.

In an extraordinary show of sportsmanship, Jedinak, Hugo Lloris of France and Denmark's Simon Kjaer have penned a letter of support for Paulo Guerrero to take his place at next month's tournament.

Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak has joined the captains of Group C opponents France and Denmark in calling for banned Peru skipper Paolo Guerrero top be allowed to play in the World Cup.
Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak has joined the captains of Group C opponents France and Denmark in calling for banned Peru skipper Paolo Guerrero top be allowed to play in the World Cup.

Guerrero, 34, has been suspended by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after testing positive for cocaine from a drug test.

Both FIFA and CAS have agreed that Guerrero did not mean to take the banned substance and it did not enhance his performance.

On this basis, the three captains of the nations Peru will face in the World Cup's Group C next month have appealed to help Guerrero beat the ban with an 11th hour appeal.

"Peru is returning to football's ultimate stage after a 36-year absence and we believe Paolo Guerrero should be allowed to lead his nation and celebrate what will be a career highlight," an open letter from the trio published through FIFPro, the world players' union, read.

Peru captain Paolo Guerrero in Lima a day after his increased ban was announced.
Peru captain Paolo Guerrero in Lima a day after his increased ban was announced.

"We respectfully ask that the FIFA Council to show compassion ... and kindly put forward an urgent case for clemency by asking the FIFA Council to temporarily interrupt the ban." Professional Footballers Australia chief John Didulica is also a signatory to the request.

There's little precedent to suggest the Hail Mary approach will be successful but Guerrero has a meeting with FIFA boss Gianni Infantino on Tuesday to push his own case.

Guerrero's teammates are hoping that heaven will smile on their top striker. "May God decide what happens," defender Luis Advincula said.

"If there's a chance of hope, we're all going to cling to it.

"May God let his meeting with the president of FIFA be positive so he may play in the 2018 Russia World Cup, which is what all Peru wants."

Guerrero was originally suspended for a year after a routine doping test in October 2017 detected a cocaine metabolite.

Paolo Guerrero is Peru’s all-time top scorer.
Paolo Guerrero is Peru’s all-time top scorer.

FIFA subsequently reduced the penalty to six months and the player returned to action with his Brazilian club Flamengo in May.

Guerrero appeared before the Court of Arbitration for Sport earlier this month to argue that the suspension was unjustified, maintaining that the cocaine entered his system in a pot of tea.

The World Anti-Doping Agency asked CAS to increase the length of Guerrero's suspension to two years.

Last Monday, CAS extended Guerrero's suspension to 14 months, keeping him off the field until January 2019.

Peru are attending their first World Cup since 1982 and will play the Socceroos in their third - and likely decisive - group match in Sochi on June 26.


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