By Alexander Johnson Adejoh
Displaying an uncommon sense of duty and compassion, away to Spezia this month during a Serie A encounter, red-hot Napoli forward Victor Osimhen climbed through the crowd at the Stadio Alberto Picco Stadium to apologize and embraced a young woman after unintentionally hitting her with a ball during his warm-up.
A video that went viral on social media showed the 24-year-old climbing through the end of Spezia as supporters cheered as he walked towards the fan. Other supporters attempted to take a selfie with the in-form centre-forward as he returned to the pitch.
Speaking after the game that Napoli won overwhelmingly 3-0, Osimhen revealed that he felt “so sorry” that during a practice session, he shot over the goal with the ball hitting a lady in the middle of the fans. Osimhen has been on a sky-high goal-scoring form so far this season, netting 18 league goals and 5 assists in 18 appearances.
In another interview, Osimhen, while recalling his lowly background said he could identify with an unknown spectator on the stand and would not take for granted anyone.
“I’ve not always been here and that is what I keep telling everyone that I meet that there was a time I do all sorts of menial jobs before I found football and fortune.” “There was a time in 2019, I actually saw this caption, ‘If you know where we are coming from you won’t wish us bad,’ on Instalgram.
The caption hit me hard because I could relate with it. I took a picture of myself, pinned the caption on it, posted it on my twitter account. So, when you come on to my handle to say some hating words, you would know that when I reply you it’s going to be crazy, and when I chose to ignore, it’s because I do not have your time.
“I put it there for them to know that there are lots of people that come from the gutter that strive so hard to earn a living for themselves. For those that really work legitimately, when they read this caption they would be able to relate and understand where this guy is coming from.
“Some people don’t know what you’ve been through and what you are going through. They think that we are always happy and they can say something to upset us or at an individual striving for excellence. I chose to ignore a lot but sometimes I give it back to them.
“However, I have a lot of people, who don’t know me from Adam, and because of what I do they chose to love me rather than hate me and try to motivate me. These are people that I identify with and try to meet them at the point of their needs.
The truth is that I don’t know them but I am motivated by them. Of course, these things will either make you or bring you down, and I chose to look at the love side to take me to the dream I have for myself. I believe in my ability. I hope on God and move on to remain humble. I never give up.”
Osimhen described himself as simple-minded, liked to laugh a lot, and focused.
“I will not consider myself as funny because my friends are quite funnier than me. I like to be around them whenever I’m home. What I’m doing is pushing out my other side, that is, away from football. Aside from that the pressure is real. People are grasping issues and some of them will go to Sabinus Page, Basketmouth, and other comedians to laugh their sorrow away.
I’ve got so many comedians that I follow and that I’ve met in real life. I could remember in 2020 when I had my neck injury and Covid-19, it was tough. I was going through Instagram when I saw a page that was hilarious and it impacted me positively. It kept me going and when I see something funny I would put my picture first and post it because many Nigerians can relate to it. My life is really simple. I like to laugh but I can be so serious at times. I can b mean too because I am human.
“On the pitch, it is strictly business, when I’m out there training, or playing I don’t joke with work. When I’m out of the pitch, I love to laugh because really, my life is simple. I respect everyone, but I fear no one. I do my thing. With the time I have now, I just want to keep on laughing, keep on living, and keep on making money. Just keep on balling.
The Nigeria forward, however, believed he has surpassed his dreams.
“I have surpassed my dream 100 percent, in fact, 1000 percent. I am a man of belief. I maintain a positive attitude. I set a standard for myself. The kind of life I want to live. Even when things are not going so well I kept on believing, I kept on dreaming, praying, working hard, and doing all sorts of things before I went back to my first love, football.
To get to where I am today, there has been a whole lot of obstacles, hate, and backstabbing. I attribute my success to pain, tears, and failures. “Some people even set their standard for me. They say, He would burn out within two seasons. He cannot do this now.’ I see these things and because I’m human, footballers are humans too. But, I’ve proved them wrong. I have been nominated for the best youth player award. So, every time I wake up I say thank you, God.
Still heavily linked with a move to Manchester United in the Summer, with Erik ten Hag’s Side eager to recruit a striker, the Red Devils will have to pay at least £120million if they are to sign the Napoli striker, according to reports.
“I’m happy to be scoring. We beat an excellent team that fought hard. This means that we can also compete in these sorts of tough games. I’m improving greatly, and credit goes to the team and the coach. Everyone is helping me to reach the top and I know that I still have to get better. I have the group and the coach to thank for the fact that I am scoring so many goals.
“Now we must immediately look ahead and take each game as it comes, without going too far. We have to continue like this, with this mentality, to keep this run going, Osimhen added.
Victor Osimhen started his club career at the Ultimate Stikers Football Academy where he had a successful trial.
Soon after, he was invited by Coach Emmanuel Amuneke, to represent Nigeria’s U-17 Team. Victor Osimhen was instrumental in helping the team qualify for the U-17 FIFA World Cup which was held in Chile.
Victor Osimhen had a bright start to the tournament and helped the Golden Eaglets to win the trophy bagging the highest goal scorer award with 10 goals. He also won the FIFA U-17 World Cup Silver Ball.
Eventually, Osimhen would be named the 2015 African Youth Player of the Year at the CAF Awards in Abuja in January 2016 and soon after, joined the German Bundesliga club, Wolfsburg.
However, after four months of making his Bundesliga debut, the talented striker picked up a shoulder injury that made him go for surgery, bringing his first season to a premature end. Osimhen’s struggles with fitness continued as he once again fell sick following his successful surgery, forcing him to miss out on the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Osimhen eventually overcame his nightmares after about two painful seasons. The inconsistency due to injury and sickness saw him fail to score a single goal for Wolfsburg thereby ruining his career in Germany.
Moving on, Osimhen attended summer trials with Belgian clubs Zulte Waregem and Club Brugge but it turned to be unsuccessful as both clubs rejected the striker due to his poor physical condition.
However, in August 2018, Belgian club Charleroi eventually accepted him on a season-long loan deal and Osimhen finally scored his first goal in his full debut for the club on September 22.
He would eventually go on to score an impressive 20 goals in 36 games with the Belgian side. After dominating Belgium, Osimhen made an upward move to France in July 2019, signing for Lille OSC.
The Nigerian striker endured a meteoric rise to prominence after that move, establishing himself as one of the best young strikers in the league, scoring 13 goals in 27 appearances for the French side – finishing as Lille’s top goalscorer.
In the summer of 2020, Serie A club Napoli announced the signing of Osimhen, for a club-record fee of €70 million potentially rising to €80 million with add-ons, making him the most expensive African transfer to date.
Since his move to Napoli, Osimhen has managed to cement his place among the great young strikers in world football, becoming the club’s undisputed talisman after just two seasons in Italy.
He recently won the award for the Serie A Most Valuable Young Player.
The Super Eagles strike earns around £5,824,000 per year, courtesy of his £112,000 weekly package.
Source: the Nation.