JAKARTA – As a kid he used to sell ice on the streets to keep alive his dream of becoming a footballler; today he is living the dream, an idol for so many other kids in his country. And how could he not be an idol after being dubbed ‘the Indonesian Messi’?
That is the story of 20-year-old Andik Vermansyah, the name you hear most often when you ask who is likely to cause Inter problems in these two friendlies. Andik will line up against Inter tonight as part of the Indonesia Liga Selection side – a mix of Indonesia U23 players and some of the best talents from club sides.
The ‘Messi’ tag was placed on him by the local media and Indonesian football fans who see in this U23 forward a similar playing style and build to the FIFA Ballon d’Or winner.
Standing just 1 metre 62 centimetres tall and weighing 52 kilos, he sure packs a punch and is not to be taken lightly. He bears a similar style to that of many South-American footballers: pacy, nifty on the ball, capable of rapid bursts, slight and with great technique. He also has a canny eye for goal. These skills have made him a household name not only here in Indonesia and nearby Malaysia but recently also – according to the main Indonesian daily TopSkor – a target for clubs such as Benfica, Porto, Novara and Los Angeles Galaxy.
Against Inter he now has the chance to put his talent on show to an even wider audience and it’s a chance Andik doesn’t want to pass up. He has a nickname to live up to after all…