Nigerians beam with pride as Osimhen finishes in Ballon d’Or top 10

Nigerians beam with pride as Osimhen finishes in Ballon d’Or top 10
Credit: Icon Sport

Super Eagles and Napoli hitman Victor Osimhen has made history by finishing 8th in the Ballon d’Or 2023 rankings.

Arsenal great Nwankwo Kanu held the record for Nigeria’s highest finish in men’s Ballon d’Or before Osimhen, finishing 11th in 1996.

He bettered Finidi George’s 21st position in the 1995 Ballon d’Or rankings.

A dream season for Osimhen

The world saw Osimhen’s untapped potential last season. The star striker, currently out injured, scored 26 goals in the league and five in the Champions League, becoming the first African player to win the Serie A Golden Boot (Capocannoniere) award.

His stellar performances helped the Partenopei win the Scudetto after more than three decades.

The Nigeria frontman formed a lethal partnership with Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, dominating defences and scoring goals at will.

Khvicha, who has dropped off a bit due to contractual issues this season, was also nominated for the Ballon d’Or 2023. He finished 17th, ahead of Bayern Munich’s Harry Kane and Real Madrid superstar Jude Bellingham.

Osimhen’s Ballon d’Or ranking makes Nigerians proud

Nigerians were over the moon to see one of their own recognised as one of the best players in world football. They revealed their happiness on Twitter, and we collected some of the best reactions below:

Naija to the world

@Tunnykvng, a Chelsea fan, was ecstatic to see him finish in the Ballon d’Or top 10. The striker’s journey from the streets of Lagos to the pinnacle of European and world football is an inspiration to many in his country.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Super Eagles will be hoping many Osimhens emerge from all corners of Nigeria and take the country forward in football.

Osimhen – Africa’s best?

@DesignbyStatman used Twitter to remind everyone that the Nigerian is the best player in Africa. The Ballon d’Or 2023 ratings back it up, with the Super Eagles star beating Liverpool and Egypt great Mohamed Salah, who finished in 11th place.

Statistically, both players posted similar numbers last season – Osimhen recorded 31 goals from 39 games while Salah had 30 from 51 outings. However, the Napoli striker scored when it mattered, helping bring success to Napoli after decades.

Osimhen’s success helps Nigerians grab bragging rights

The Super Eagles and Black Stars have been rivals for decades, with fans from both corners claiming their team is better than the other.

Nigeria currently sit in 40th in the FIFA ranking, while Ghana occupy the 60th place. The Super Eagles are well clear, and Osimhen’s latest triumph gives them further bragging rights.

Chelsea fan demands Osimhen signature

@kesandutg used the opportunity to urge the Chelsea hierarchy to sign him.

The striker has been linked heavily with the club after a disappointing start to the season. Nicolas Jackson hasn’t delivered in front of goal, while contribution has been limited from the other attackers in the Chelsea squad.

He could help the club in the attacking department, but his signing would be far from straightforward.

Many clubs, including Liverpool, are in the hunt for Osimhen’s signature, and Napoli will demand a record-breaking fee, especially after his Ballon d’Or 2023 ranking.

This article was most recently revised and updated 8 months ago

Chandan is a passionate writer, editor, and marketer with a love for football. He has bylines in leading online publications and has worked with renowned sports brands like The Olympics, Fox Sports Asia, and the Indian Super League (ISL). As for the unimpressive part, he loves Chelsea.