Victor Osimhen, the Nigerian footballer, has become a hero in the port city of Naples by bringing the team to the brink of their first Serie A title since 1990. His impressive form has also made him one of the most sought-after players in world football.
Osimhen’s second goal against Juventus in January was a crucial moment that brought the team to victory, securing a 5-1 win and sending a clear message about their title chances. Osimhen has played a vital role in the team’s charge to the top, having scored 21 goals in Italy’s Serie A, making him the top scorer in the league by far.
Osimhen’s rise to cult status in Naples is evident in the way the city has embraced him. His face adorns cakes across the city, and fans queue to buy replica masks from stalls outside the stadium. A song composed by musician Alex Garini about the striker went viral in February, celebrating his goal-scoring ability and his grit to defy the odds.
The striker’s impressive performance this season is not just limited to his goal-scoring ability; he has also scored four goals in Napoli’s historic run to the Champions League quarterfinals and has provided four assists in Serie A, proving he has more to his game than just scoring goals.
Osimhen’s friend and journalist from Nigeria, Oma Akatugba, said that growing up in Olusosun, Lagos, where his family had to fight for everything, has helped shape the striker’s playing style and character.
Nigeria Under-17s coach Nnamdi Onuigbo added that despite all the talents in Nigeria, the structure and opportunities for becoming a professional footballer are not as organised or readily available as in Europe. Osimhen’s determination and hard work have helped him rise to the top and become one of the most coveted players in world football.
Osimhen’s game has evolved from a player who played with raw, brute force to a player with some level of finesse, especially after joining Napoli. Playing under coach Luciano Spalletti has helped improve his game, making him an all-rounded player who has learned to control his temper and avoid being provoked by opponents.
Despite missing three games due to a groin injury, Osimhen will return to the side for Tuesday’s crucial second-leg Champions League quarterfinal against fellow Italian giants AC Milan, who beat Napoli 1-0 in the first leg in Milan.
Osimhen’s impressive form this season has made him one of the most coveted players in world football, with his fighting spirit and dedication to the team capturing the heart of the gritty, working-class port city that knows how to put its heroes on a pedestal.