Napoli’s 33-year wait for a Scudetto came to an end thanks to Nigerian goalpoacher Victor Osimhen ’s 22 Serie A goals and 4 assists in 27 games this season.
That feat has seen the Napolitans crowned Italian champions despite a 1-1 draw at Udinese. And Osimhen’s stellar season has seen parallels drawn between him and football god Diego Maradona, the one who led Napoli to their last Serie A league title in 1990.
The 2003 crowning is Napoli’s third league title in Serie A and for the lanky striker; this year’s campaign has set a few records.
Victor Osimhen edged past George Weah as Africa’s highest goals scorer in Seria A history (Osimhen – 47 goals in 79 matches/Weah – 46 goals in 114 games).
Victor Osimhen Football Records
He is the first African to win the Serie A Golden Boot
He holds the record for the Most Goals in a Serie A Season by an African Player
2nd Nigerian to win the Italian league title after Obafemi Martins
Victor scored 10 goals in the 2015 Under 17 World Cup and helped Nigeria win the trophy
2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup & U-17 AFCON Top Scorer
2015 CAF Youth Player of the Year
2019-20 Lille Player of the Season
2021-22 Serie A Best Young Player
Africa’s most expensive Player, Napoli’s record signing (70 million euros)
While Napoli signed world class players in Cavani and Higuain in hopes of landing the Serie A tile, they faltered. It had to take the pair of Napoli heroes of Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia for the dream to manifest. Kvaratskhelia recorded the most Serie A assists this season with 10 goals.
Victor Osimhen’s Mask Story
Victor Osimhen celebrated so hard in the wake of becoming Serie A champion, he broke his face mask. There’s nothing to worry about however as he has dozens in stock to wear.
The 24-year-old underwent facial surgery after colliding with Inter’s Milan Skriniar in a Serie A clash in October 2021. Osimhen has been wearing the mask for protection since recovering from the injury. As well as his goal-scoring heroics, the mask has made the striker more popular among Napoli and rival fans.
The mask also went missing in November 2021. Osimhen has been wearing the mask since suffering multiple compound fractures to his eye socket and cheekbone. Napoli doctor Roberto Ruggiero has explained Victor has since healed but continues to wear the mask out of choice.
“Osimhen is perfectly healed, he’s still wearing the protective mask because it gives him a sense of security, but he’s healed,” he told the media.
The masks are intended to cover and protect a laceration or unstable part of the face. Typically, they are used to guard against further injury to lacerations to i.e. the chin or lip, or fractures to the nose or cheekbone.
Early Challenges faced by Victor Osimhen
Osimhen’s mother died early in his life when he was about 13. It didn’t help that his father also lost his job three months after his mother’s passing forcing the family to relocate to a smaller accommodation.
To help secure the daily meal, the children (7) had to hawk wares on the streets of Lagos. Whiles his elder siblings hawked newspapers and oranges, he hawked sachet water as the youngest.
Determined to make something of his life, he sojourned to Abuja, the federal capital of Nigeria, leaving Lagos behind.
In 2014 at age 16 he went for the Nigeria Under-17 team screening held in Abuja by coach Amuneke. Multitudes of players were at the Abuja stadium and were each given 15 minutes to impress. He produced two goals in his given time.
Whiles rejected as was the fate of the thousands who came for the trials, the Nigeria team doctor urged coach Amuneke to try out “The guy on green.”
That intervention saw him selected for the Under-17 World Cup team, he later went on to win the following;
• 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup
• 2015 FIFA U-17 Golden Boot (Highest Goal Scorer)
• 2015 FIFA Silver shoe award (Second Best Player)
With his success at the tournament, European clubs sought his signature but his journey didn’t quite take off.
On Jan. 5, 2017 he signed for the German club, Wolfsburg. The coach that brought him to Germany got sacked. He was afflicted with leg and shoulder injuries requiring multiple surgeries.
Having recuperated in Nigeria, and set to make a return to Germany, he got malaria and typhoid requiring another hospitalization.
When he finally returned to Wolfsburg, he was loaned to Zulte Waregem in Belgium. Despite keen assurances from the coach, he was once again returned to Wolfsburg who asked him to train with the Under-19 team for fitness for a loan deal.
Belgian Champions Club Brugge came calling and while he passed his medicals, the club president turned down the deal.
A disillusioned Osimhen had nearly given up on being signed by a club that had faith in his abilities when club president of another Belgian Club, Charleroi FC, called assuring him he needed his services.
At the club, he scored 20 goals in 36 appearances which drew the attention of French club Lille which signed him.
In France, he scored 18 goals making him a fan favorite among the Lille fans but Italian giants, Napoli FC broke their transfer record to make him the most expensive African player when they paid Lille $96M.
Victor James Osimhen’s has repaid the faith Napoli and coach Luciano Spalletti’s had in him with the historic third Scudetto title.
Victor Osimhen ’s Child and Lover
Victor Osimhen shares a daughter named Hailey with German-Cameroonian Stefanie Kim Ladewig. The pair is believed to have met during Osimhen’s playing days at Bundesliga club VFL Wolfsburg. Stefanie’s mother Sarah is believed to be Cameroonian while her father is a German.
Osimhen and Stefanie fell in love as the German lady was a cheerleader for Wolfsburg at the time. He is two years older than her.
“Time with her is precious. I want her to become a woman who always feels like she has her father by her side,” Osimhen said of his daughter.
Given that Hailey was born in Italy, she is an Italian citizen. However the lethal forward intends taking her to Nigeria to get acquainted with her people.
“One day, we’ll go there (Nigeria). She will have to smell the smells of that land. I will have to show her the places where her uncles sold oranges and newspapers and I cut grass. It will be important for her to see where our story began and that it hasn’t been an easy path because life is not easy. And it will be important for me to show them where those places, even the ones where I sold pure water on the streets of Lagos,” Victor Osimhen explained.
by michael eli dokosi/www.blakkpepper.net