Nigerians to watch in the UCL matchday 1

Nigerians to watch in the UCL matchday 1
Credit: Icon Sport

The 2023-24 UCL season gets underway across Europe on Tuesday.

This is a competition the likes of Kanu Nwankwo, Finidi George, and John Obi-Mikel won in the past and one of the current crop of players might just be lucky again.

The likes of Victor Osimhen, Zaidu Sanusi, and Samuel Chukwueze are some of the Super Eagles players who will be playing in Europe’s foremost competition. Hopefully, more names will join this list in the future.

Nigerian UCL players to watch out for in matchday one

Victor Osimhen – Napoli

The Super Eagles forward, without any doubt, is currently one of the best strikers in Europe. Victor Osimhen had a phenomenal season with Napoli last season where his goals earned his side their first Serie A title in 33 years and he won the Golden Boot.
In the Champions League last season, Osimhen scored five goals in six games as Napoli made it to the quarterfinals before losing out to Milan.

Those exploits earned Osimhen nominations for the 2023 FIFA Best Awards and the Ballon d’Or.

After his great feats last term, he has been tipped to achieve more after his proposed move to Saudi Arabia failed to actualize. So far this campaign, Osimhen has scored three goals in four games and his side will be counting on him in their first European game of the season.

Osimhen and Napoli will be guests of Braga in Portugal as they hope to begin on a winning note. Union Berlin and Real Madrid are the other teams in Napoli’s group.

Samuel Chukwueze – AC Milan

Samuel Chukwueze made a dream move to AC Milan this summer from Villarreal and is expected to feature for the Italian giants in the Champions League.

However, Chukwueze has not enjoyed the best start to life in Milan as he has made substitute appearances in all four Serie A games played so far. Even while on international duty with Nigeria, he came off the bench to score against Sao Tome and Principe in Uyo.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that he could make a surprise start against Newcastle at San Siro on Tuesday and if it does happen, he will try to make the most of the opportunity.

Saidu Zanusi – FC Porto

Saidu Zanusi has been a constant figure in the Champions League with Porto for some seasons now. Sanusi has been playing actively in the Champions League since 2020.

In total, he has made 24 appearances in the Champions League – making him the Nigerian player with most apps since that period.

The Nigerian has made two appearances this season but has missed the past two games for the Portuguese giants. It remains to be seen if he will play a part in his side’s opening game against Shakhtar Donetsk in Hamburg.

Peter Olayinka – Red Star Belgrade

Peter Olayinka moved to Serbian side Red Star Belgrade in the summer. He has played in the Champions League before with Salvia Prague. Olayinka has over 60 appearances across all tiers of European competitions since 2015.

The attacker has scored a goal and made three assists in seven appearances this season. His side is traveling to Manchester to face defending champions City, which could be a long night for Olayinka and the rest of the squad on Tuesday night.

Sadiq Umar – Real Sociedad

Chidera Ejuke & Alhassan Yusuf – RC Antwerp

The group stage games will begin on 19th September 2023 and will conclude on December 13, 2023. The final will be played in Wembley Stadium on June 1, 2024.

This article was most recently revised and updated 8 months ago

All-round lover of the beautiful game. Massive football fan, supported Arsenal for decades for reasons that are unexplainable. One day we will win the Champions League!