Preparations for the 2023/2024 European football season has begun in earnest with Clubs all over Europe ramping up for the new season. Preseason games have begun to take place and some Nigerian footballers are doing what they can to get themselves ready for their respective campaigns.
The players in focus are Samuel Chukwueze of Villareal and Leon Balogun of Glasgow Rangers. Both players saw their teams play in preseason friendlies and we want to take a look at how they fared.
Nigerian footballers in pre-season: Samuel Chukwueze’s Villareal with dominant win
The Super Eagles international had a phenomenal 2022/2023 season where he was recognized as the best African player in La Liga as he won the African footballer award.
Chukwueze back to work 🤟🏽 pic.twitter.com/BmrXigvuAe
— Soar Super Eagles (@SSE_NGA) July 11, 2023
His bid to improve on that superb campaign has already began as Villareal took on Austrian side, SCR Altach at the Cashpoint Arena in front of 2,735 fans in attendance.
The Yellow Submarine came away with a comfortable 3-0 win against their opponents in a match where they fielded two separate starting lineups for both halves.
Chukwueze was part of the starting 11 that began the game and put on a decent performance. The 24-year-old winger gave the Yellow Submarine the lead 15 minutes into the game, but the situation looked tight and the referee ended up disallowing the Nigerian’s goal.
Not too long after, Gerard Moreno gave his team the lead with a fantastic header coming off a corner kick.
Chukwueze’s job was done after the first half as he was subbed off at half time. In the second half, Ilias Akhomach scored for the Yellow Submarine on his preseason debut while Alfonso Pedraza was also on the scoresheet from left back for Villareal.
The next stop for them is an away game against Hannover 96 in the HDI Arena on the 22nd of July, 2023.
Leon Balogun’s rangers suffer preseason defeat
Glasgow Rangers played in a preseason game against Newcastle United where they suffered a 2-1 loss to the Magpies.
FULL-TIME: Rangers 1-2 Newcastle Utd
Thank you for joining us at Ibrox Stadium this evening 💙 pic.twitter.com/RunX7Q00xR
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) July 18, 2023
Leon Balogun who was signed by Rangers for a second spell at the club this summer did not start the game for the Scottish giants but he came on at half time when the Gers made wholesale changes.
The friendly against Newcastle at Ibrox stadium was the testimonial match of Legendary Rangers keeper, Alan McGregor. The 41-year-old keeper made over 500 appearances for the club and won 11 trophies across two spells playing in Glasgow.
He was not able to have a victorious testimonial as a composed finish from Miguel Almiron and a decent header by Ashby Rose off an Alexander Isak cross saw Newcastle spoil the party. New Rangers signing Sam Lammers was able to score for the home side as well.
Rangers next preseason game is on Saturday where they welcome German side, Hamburger SV to the Ibrox stadium.
This article was most recently revised and updated 8 months ago