Osimhen: Football brought my family out of poverty, ‘everything else is a bonus’

osimhen played football to end family poverty
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Victor Osimhen is a talented forward who has been enmeshed with media matters recently that have clouded his Napoli future.

Osimhen has been perhaps the most talked about player in the last few weeks, with several clubs interested in taking him away from Napoli.

The name of the Nigerian forward has been mentioned within the highest decision-making chambers of some of Europe's top clubs. They include Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Paris Saint Germain.

It means Osimhen probably has a limited time in Naples, but amid the whole brouhaha he has been entangled in, he has cleared the air on some of the things that transpired.

Osimhen played football to break the poverty in his family

Osimhen napoli future in doubt
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Osimhen was a guest on John Mikel Obi's ‘Obi One' podcast and he revealed several things about his past, the problems he's been through, and gave a clue about his future.

According to Osimhen in the chat with Mikel Obi, football was not just a passion. It was a route out of poverty.

“I played football to get my family out of abject poverty. I have achieved that and every other thing is a bonus,” he said during the interview.

The Napoli forward described the situation in his family as abject which led to his early independence to help his family see better days.

Osimhen said he sold water under Lagos bridges to help his family survive. He was in his early teens, and it helped toughen him as he navigated the murky world of poverty.

According to the Super Eagles striker, the goal was to bring his family out of abject poverty, and he has achieved that. To the Napoli forward, every other thing is a bonus.

On finishing eighth in the Ballon d'Or

Victor Osimhen, Napoli striker
Credit: Icon Sport

Osimhen also spoke about his Ballon d'Or finish after he became the Nigerian to finish highest at the awards.

The former Lille striker said it was a massive achievement for him to be in the same category as the likes of Nwankwo Kanu, Victor Ikpeba and Emmanuel Amunike.

He also posited that coming from a background like his, it could have only been God who saw him to this level.

“It's massive considering where I came from. It is all down to God,” he continued.

“When I joined Napoli, they wrote me off, so finishing eighth in the Ballon d’Or is a huge achievement. It will stay with me forever. I am humbled to finish eighth.”

Osimhen said his next target is to win the Champions League and the Africa Cup of Nations.

“I have won the Serie A, the next thing is to win the Champions League. I want to reach and surpass your (Mikel) records,” he added.

He also spoke about Nigeria not voting for him at the Ballon d'Or awards. The Napoli striker said everyone is entitled to their opinion, but no one can deny or downplay the effort he put in to get the recognition he has.

He opined that it doesn't matter because he is more motivated.

“At the end of the day I finished eighth. I think I did so much for myself to get the recognition I have. It doesn't matter. They can vote for who they want. It doesn't change anything,” he concluded.

John Obi Mikel asks Osimhen to join Chelsea

mikel obi asks osimhen to join chelsea
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With Osimhen's future clouded in controversy, many people have weighed in on what he should do.

While some believe he should remain at Napoli, the consensus is that he should leave the club, and Mikel Obi belongs to this group.

The former Chelsea player described the Nigerian as a player with the right amount of arrogance and personality like Didier Drogba and should join Chelsea next summer.

He advised him not to leave in January, but to wait till the summer and that Chelsea would be the right place for him to thrive.

Mikel Obi also said the Osimhen would really love it in London.

However, the former midfielder said Osimhen needs to be polished and in the next two to three years will be a complete striker. Mikel Obi also wished he had played more with Osimhen, as his assists would have risen.

He said he was never interested in leaving Napoli last summer, despite the massive offer from Saudi Arabia, but it looks like his head is turned and it is facing the Premier League.

So what would it be for the boy from Olusosun? Would it be Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool or Manchester United?

This article was most recently revised and updated 3 weeks ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter.
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