Where are you right now?

At a place called Savar. It’s a bit far from the main city.

What are you doing here?

There is a beautiful university here (Jahangirnagar University). I will click pictures there and then leave Bangladesh on 24 December. This is my first time in Dhaka. Who knows, if I’ll ever come back here again! So, I’m trying to make the most of my time and see different places. I’m trying to understand the people here and the culture. To understand the people of a country, there is no better substitute than spending time with the youth.

Tell me about your experience of watching the final at Dhaka University…

I can’t express that in words. It was unbelievable! The city of Dhaka gifted me one of the best experiences of my life. The excitement here is no less than Argentina. 20000 people were there together, so much commotion. You people are crazy. Absolutely crazy! I was shocked seeing the people’s energy and emotion about Argentina. How did this happen?

I think it began when Diego Maradona started evolving into ‘Maradona’. Especially, after Maradona lifted the World Cup in 1986. He was also a man full of emotion and passion, just like us. Maybe, the people of this region could see themselves in him. But I digress. What are you taking back home from Dhaka?

Memories. A lot of memories, which stand out from all of my other memories and will always hold a special place in my heart. From Dhaka, I will be taking a plane full of love for Argentina. This is inexplicable, I can’t explain it with words. I wish I could show this to everyone back in my country!

Did you taste the local cuisine? Which dish did you like the most?

I really liked your national fish (hilsha). It’s so fragrant! But it has a lot of bones. After coming here, I’ve already learnt how to eat with my hand. I’ve tasted different varieties of sweets. Please don’t ask me to name them. I’ve had biriyani. I also had a yellow rice with lentils, potatoes and vegetables (khichuri), which was interesting!

You watched the match at Dhaka University. Did you taste any of the street foods there like panipuri, bhelpuri, fuchka?

No. A friend of mine told me, ‘No matter what you eat, always drink mineral water, never drink water from anywhere else.’ So that’s why I avoided street foods which had water in them.

Did you face the traffic jam in Dhaka?

Oh, yes I did! There is a lot of traffic here. But I must say, the drivers are great, (laughs), they tell me, ‘Brother, no worries.’

What did you like the most?

The wholeheartedness of the people, everyone here is really welcoming. There are very few people who are as emotional. People in India are also really emotional but here, it’s even more so. I also liked the food. You guys like a lot of sour, sweet and spice in your food. You like everything to be spicy. But to me, it seemed a little too spicy. And the people here also love taking pictures. People have clicked so many selfies with me that I felt like, I am Messi!

Do visit Bangladesh again. Next time, come here with more time in hand to travel around the entire country.

(Laughs). Let’s see… Through this interview, I want to express my love to everyone in Bangladesh, especially to the ones who support Argentina. You guys are really incredible!

*This interview appeared in the online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for the English edition by Ashfaq-Ul-Alam Niloy