The UEFA Champions League is taking shape, in an extraordinary season, that will see the World Cup staged towards the end of the year unlike in mid – year like in the previous editions. In essence, the change of World Cup calendar means things are a bit rushed and the Champions League hasn’t been spared.
Just like in most of the previous seasons, a number of Nigerian players are among the players taking part in this season’s UEFA Champions League competition from the Group stages. As they get down to business with their teams, the big question remains; will we have a new Nigerian winner of the prestigious title?
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So far, only three Nigerian players have won the Champions League title. Finidi George and Nwankwo Kanu were the first Nigerians to win the coveted title back in 1995 when plying their trade with Dutch giants Ajax of Amsterdam. The feat was much later repeated by John Obi Mikel, during his time at Chelsea. It is now over a decade since a Nigerian player won the European title.
Here we profile five players with a chance at joining the elite list, and the first one will obviously be Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, the easily recognisable best Nigerian player doing his business out there. Osimhen did miss a chance to score in the Champions League on Match Day 1 as Napoli thrashed Liverpool, but he isn’t one to completely rule out.
Now with his already noted prowess, a bet on Osimhen scoring in the group stages is really likely to win, and in line with this a number of the best betting sites in Nigeria can be great to stake on, as they come with bonuses from 5BTC up to N100000, and are all profiled in detail on SportyTrader.
Zaidu Sanusi of FC Porto is another Nigerian player likely to join the elite list. He is a reliable defender at the Portuguese giants and one of the key targets he will have is to help his team past the group stages, which was their last stop last season. Should Sanusi go all the way to win this, he will be the first defender from Nigeria to win the title.
Calvin Bassey is another Nigerian who plays in defence that will want to win this title. Bassey just joined Ajax from Scottish giants, Rangers, who went all the way to the Europa League final last season. Bassey will want to tap on Finidi George and Nwankwo Kanu’s charm to win the title with Ajax. He didn’t have the greatest of starts to his time at Ajax but that can always be forgotten if he were to settle in well and give his best.
Akinkunmi Amoo of FC Copenhagen is another Nigerian playing in the Champions League this season and though for him it remains an outside chance that he can win the title, these things can never be completely ruled out. Copenhagen came through after beating Turkish champions Trabzonspor in the qualifiers and Amoo will be brushing shoulders with the bigwigs of Europe.In a group that has Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla, Amoo’s side can only hope to give their best.
Samson Tijani of RB Salzburg will be another hopeful Nigerian. Salzburg are also firm underdogs in this but they can be devastating on their day. Tijani has struggled with injuries and will be hoping to get some minutes in the Champions League this season after failing to in the past campaign.
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