In the wake of Napoli’s long-awaited Italian title victory after 33 years, one player stands out as the driving force behind their triumph—Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen.
Back in 1990, Napoli’s leading goal-scorer was the legendary Diego Maradona, who found the net 16 times in 28 Serie A matches, placing him third on the league’s top scorers’ list that season.
Osimhen, now playing in a stadium named after Maradona, has surpassed that feat, impressively tallying 22 goals in just 27 games, including the crucial strike that sealed the title in a 1-1 draw against Udinese.
Currently leading the Serie A scoring charts, Osimhen sits three goals ahead of his closest rival, Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez.
In addition to his domestic exploits, Osimhen contributed five goals in the Champions League before Napoli’s quarter-final exit at the hands of AC Milan.
The significance of goals in football is well-known, and Osimhen’s goal-scoring prowess has garnered widespread attention. Since his record-breaking move to Napoli in July 2020, fetching around €81 million, transfer rumors constantly swirl, linking him to Europe’s biggest clubs for even more astronomical fees.
But the question remains: Is the 24-year-old striker truly worth £100 million?
Osimhen’s Ascendance as a Leader
In a city overshadowed by a volcano, Maradona’s fiery temperament and extraordinary skills perfectly complemented the adoring Neapolitan fans who witnessed his artistry during the club’s revival in the 1980s.
Maradona, who captained Napoli to their second Scudetto triumph in 1990, holds such reverence in Naples that his number 10 shirt was permanently retired in 2000.
While Osimhen possesses a different demeanor, characterized by coolness under pressure, he has assumed the mantle of leadership for the team, much like Maradona did.
“Osimhen has grown into the leader that Napoli needs on the pitch,” said Italian football journalist Mina Razouki in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live. “His performances have been astonishing, and the team currently relies on him. Technically, he has always been brilliant, and now we are witnessing his consistency. Undoubtedly, he ranks among the top five strikers in the world.”
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Osimhen’s remarkable consistency was evident in February when he netted his 19th league goal in a 2-0 victory over Empoli, becoming the second-youngest player (24 years, 58 days) to score in eight consecutive games, trailing only Cagliari’s Roberto Muzzi (23 years, 165 days). He also reached his 100th career goal faster than both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo—an accomplishment that impressed his national team coach, Jose Peseiro.
“Victor possesses an extraordinary goalscoring instinct,” praised Peseiro. “He is an intelligent, quick, and aggressive player with an exceptional sense of positioning. He will score many more goals and create further history.”
Despite Osimhen’s remarkable statistics, he remains grounded in his humble origins, hailing from a disadvantaged part of Lagos. In interviews, he often expresses gratitude for the opportunity to pursue his football dream, opting to live near the training center rather than in a luxurious apartment.
However, Osimhen’s season has not been without its challenges. Hindered by several injuries, he missed crucial matches such as the Champions League quarter-final first leg against AC Milan. In fact, he still wears a protective face mask in every game as a result of breaking an eye socket in November 2021
Source: BBC Sports