The fervor of football fans worldwide is reaching its zenith as the dawn of a new season of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) is upon us.
As the calendar flips to Tuesday, September 19, 2023, anticipation surges. Yet, Wednesday, the 20th, holds a special place in the hearts of Nigerians and fans of Italian football.
Victor Osimhen, the rising star from Nigeria, will kickstart his UEFA Champions League campaign when Napoli embarks on a journey to face Braga in their first Group stage encounter.
Nigerians have consistently etched their names into the annals of European football, leaving an indelible mark. The stage is set, and the spotlight shines brightly on Victor Osimhen.
However, amidst the excitement and buzz surrounding this emerging legend, it's crucial to pay homage to those who paved the way.
One name that resonates is that of former Inter Milan striker Obafemi Martins, who remains Nigeria's all-time top scorer in the UEFA Champions League.
As we delve into the rich history of Nigerian goal scorers in the UCL, we uncover a tapestry woven with skill, dedication, and a deep love for the beautiful game.
Join us on this journey as we celebrate Nigeria's footballing excellence in the grandest stage of European club football.
List of Nigeria’s top goal scorers in UCL
Obafemi Martins – 10 Goals
Obafemi Martins, affectionately known as ‘Obagoal,' is Nigeria's all-time leading goal scorer in the UEFA Champions League with an impressive tally of 10 goals.
This former Nigerian international had a remarkable career, featuring for some of Europe's most prominent clubs, including Inter Milan, Wolfsburg, and Rubin Kazan.
Martins made his Champions League debut in 2012 while playing for Inter Milan, where he notched a couple of crucial goals for the club.
His journey also took him to Wolfsburg and Rubin Kazan, where he continued to shine on the European stage.
Martins retired as a Nigerian legend in the Champions League, leaving behind a memorable legacy.
Victor Osimhen – 7 Goals
As the new season of the UEFA Champions League unfolds, all eyes are on Victor Osimhen. This Super Eagle has already begun etching his name into the annals of European football.
Osimhen scored two goals during his debut season with Lille and added five more to his tally with Napoli in the UCL last year.
Notably, he equalled Martins' record for the most UCL goals by a Nigerian in a single season.
Osimhen's journey in the Champions League promises to be one filled with excitement, and fans worldwide are eager to see how he will add to his impressive goal count.
Julius Aghahowa – 7 Goals
Julius Aghahowa, known as ‘Aghawonder,' left an indelible mark on both club and country. He was a key figure for Shakhtar Donetsk, scoring 51 goals in 150 appearances during his first stint with the Russian outfit between 2000 and 2007.
In the Champions League, Aghahowa showcased his goal-scoring prowess, finding the back of the net 7 times to secure his place among Nigeria's top scorers in the competition.
Although his return to Shakhtar Donetsk in 2009 was less prolific, with just one goal in 19 appearances, Aghahowa's legacy as a Nigerian UCL goal scorer remains intact.
Emmanuel Emenike – 7 Goals
Emmanuel Emenike is celebrated as one of Nigeria's finest strikers, famously leading Nigeria to victory in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations under the guidance of the late Stephen Keshi.
Emenike's European adventure saw him represent Spartak Moscow, Fenerbahce, and Olympiacos in the Champions League, where he amassed a total of seven goals.
His contributions in the UCL demonstrated his goal-scoring prowess and solidified his reputation as one of Nigeria's top European strikers.
Viktor Ikpeba – 7 Goals
Known as ‘The Prince of Monaco,' Viktor Ikpeba was awarded the Africa Footballer of the Year in 1997.
He featured for both Monaco and Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League, playing pivotal roles in their campaigns.
Ikpeba's UCL journey concluded with seven goals, firmly establishing him among Nigeria's elite UCL goal scorers.
His performances in the competition showcased his talent and earned him a place in the hearts of fans worldwide.
Ayegbeni Yakubu – 7 Goals
Ayegbeni Yakubu, fondly known as ‘The Yak,' left a trail of goals across Europe.
His club career spanned stints in England, Israel, and Turkey, and during his time with Maccabi Haifa, he found the back of the net in the Champions League on several occasions before departing in 2003.
Yakubu's contributions to the UCL during his career reflected his goal-scoring prowess, and he remains an iconic Nigerian striker in European football.
Ahmed Musa – 6 Goals
Ahmed Musa, Nigeria's most-capped player of all time, delighted fans during his tenure with Russian club CSKA Moscow.
In his first stint with the club between 2011 and 2016, Musa netted two Champions League goals in six appearances.
Following a challenging spell with English club Leicester City, Musa returned to CSKA Moscow on loan during the 2017-2018 season.
His contributions to both clubs in the competition culminated in a total of six goals in the UEFA Champions League.
This article was most recently revised and updated 6 days ago