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'Messi is short' - How Ibrahimovic inspires Makgopa to move to Europe

11:32 SAST 2021/06/12
Evidence Makgopa, Baroka FC, May 2021
The 21-year-old enjoyed what could be his best season of his career so far and has attracted the attention of famous teams

Baroka FC forward Evidence Makgopa has ruled himself out of a local transfer as he sets his sights on a move abroad where he draws inspiration from AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

With Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns rumoured to have marked the newly-capped Bafana Bafana star as a transfer target, the player says he does not see himself joining another Premier Soccer League side from Baroka. 

The 21-year-old’s profile drastically improved in the just-ended season when he was named the campaign's best young player after scoring seven goals in 28 league starts, before making his Bafana Bafana debut on Thursday.

Interestingly, Makgopa’s determination to move abroad sees him not drawing motivation from any player plying his trade locally but he looks up to Ibrahimovic while also commenting on Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I like playing for Baroka and I think the only time I would leave is if I move abroad. I think from Baroka I want to go abroad,” Makgopa told iDiski Times.

“I admire a lot of international players. I don’t think there is anyone in Mzansi who motivates me that much. I am for real. And internationally you know everyone is interested in Messi and Ronaldo, but I like Zlatan Ibrahimovic. 

"I think he has some things I like somehow, like his height you know. Messi is a short guy, so I look at the tall guys and try to learn from them.”

After a sterling season with Baroka, Makgopa also got his Bafana Bafana breakthrough and immediately made an impact by grabbing a brace after coming on as a second-half substitute in an international friendly match against Uganda on Thursday.

The performance on his South Africa debut could boost his chances of making it into David Notoane’s final Olympics team.

“To be honest I had a sleepless night [on Thursday] because my heart was full of joy,” Makgopa told Far Post.  

“Although it feels like a dream, I knew this would happen if I were to be given a chance at Bafana. I told myself that ‘just be yourself boy, you can do this, now it’s time to show the nation that you are the real deal. Everyone was happy for me in camp, I honestly enjoyed every minute at Bafana Bafana and I will cherish that moment forever.”