To excel as an African footballer away from home is not an easy task, such was the case for Victor Boniface the Nigerian striker who suffered early injury upsets on arrival in Europe.
Many players show true potential and promise in their early careers but fizzle out over time, but for a player like him, surmounting challenges became a watchward.
In this article, you will learn the story of Victor Boniface who faced career threatening injuries just when his path in football was only beginning, but will go on to overcome and turn out to be a better version of himself as his career continues to move forward.
You will also get to know his net worth and some other key information about the player.
Victor Boniface Biography
Victor Boniface, born on 23 December 2000, is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen.
Boniface started his career at Lagos-based academy called Real Sapphire FC, who are popular within the shores of Nigeria in grooming and exporting talented players. Boniface was in their books before he made his move to Norwegian side Bodo/Glimt in 2019.
But he suffered a major setback two weeks after joining his new club, with the then 18-year-old damaging his cruciate ligament in a pre-season friendly against SK Brann.
He landed awkwardly after an aerial challenge during the game and his foot gave shifted. The injury sent him to six months on the sidelines, subsequently missing the 2019 U-20 World Cup in Poland for Nigeria.
Part of the player's compelling story was how he struggled at the start of his journey in Europe after he lost his mother and suffered an injury two weeks after moving to Norway in 2019. His passion for the game diminishing and thoughts of quitting being next on his mind.
But since overcoming the challenges, Boniface has moved from a €2 million player to a €20 million striker, scoring nine goals in the Belgian Jupiler Pro League in the 2022/23 season as well as six goals in the UEFA Europa League, one of them winning him the prestigious Europa Goal of the Season award.
Victor Boniface Early Football Career
In 2012 while in Akure, the Ondo State capital, Boniface’s football talent was noticed during a scouting competition at his school, T-Chris International School.
In an interview with Het Nieuwsblad, the Nigerian striker revealed that he developed his football skills while living at the military barracks with his grandparents.
Boniface said ‘I lived with my grandparents. Grandpa was in the army, I grew up in the military domain. I often played football there with my uncles’.
He'd later join Royal Gold Soccer Academy also based in Akure before getting on the books of Real Sapphire FC where he was at when opportunity came in 2019 for a move to Bodo/Glimt in Norway.
Victor Boniface Club Career and Stats
Boniface made his first move to Europe as he signed for Bodo/Glimt from Real Sapphire on 4 March 2019. He suffered a ligament injury only two weeks after signing for Glimt, and was out of action for the rest of the 2019 season.
In September 2019 he finally made his league debut for the Norwegian giants and was looking forward to establishing himself in Norway in his second season, before he suffered a second cruciate ligament injury in a team bus accident that kept him out for a long time again.
At that time, he was at his lowest point and things got worse as he lost his mother and passion for the game died down, with thoughts of quitting next on his mind.
Boniface was able to come through his personal problems and was helpful to his side in the 2020/21 season as he scored six goals in 24 appearances to aid Glimt to become champions of the Eliteserien for the first time in the club's 104-years history.
He left Glimt in 2022 after three years at the club with 23 goals in 66 total appearances across all featured competitions.
On 8 August 2022, Boniface signed a four-year contract with Union SG in Belgium after he left his first club, Bodo/Glimt.
Since his move to USG, Boniface has not had a serious injury since any more, and his career is on the right track.
He spent just one season and scored 17 goals and made six assists in 51 total games across all competitions for Union Saint-Gilloise.
The 22-year-old joined the German outfit Leverkusen, on a five-year deal worth €20 million with an additional €7.5 million allocated for add-ons and contractual clauses after just a year with Union SG in Belgium.
It was the most expensive sale in the history of Union, knocking aside the €7 million transfer record received from Club Brugge for Casper Nielsen in 2022.
He made his debut for Leverkusen in a DFB Pokal round 1 match on 12 August 2023, where his side defeated Teutonia Often 0-8 with the Nigerian netting his first official goal for the German outfit.
Victor Boniface's scintillating start to the Bundesliga season has earned him the well-deserved title of Rookie of the Month for August 2023.
In just three games, the 22-year-old forward made an indelible mark with three crucial goals and a vital assist for Bayer Leverkusen. Boniface's arrival from Royale Union Saint-Gilloise injected newfound power and determination into Die Werkself's lineup, addressing a previous void within the team.
With an impressive record of three wins from three competitive fixtures, Xabi Alonso's side has greatly benefited from Boniface's contributions. His exceptional 14 shots on goal, including an astounding 11 in a single match during the 3-0 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 2, stands as a league-high statistic.
Furthermore, his impressive tally of 54 contested duels underscores his determination and commitment on the field, making him a standout performer and a worthy recipient of this prestigious award.
Victor Boniface International Career
Boniface was selected to represent Nigeria in the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations, but had to withdraw because of his ligament injuries at that time.
Due to the number of quality attackers with the Nigeria senior team, Boniface's inclusion took some time but finally he got his maiden invitation to the team on 3 September 2023 from coach Jose Peseiro, along with two other new faces Gift Orban and Jordan Torunarigha.
Victor Boniface earned his call-up after an impressive start to the new 2023/24 season with his new club Bayer Leverkusen.
At the time of his invitation to the Super Eagles, Boniface had scored 5 goals and assisted 2 in 4 games for Leverkusen.
The big forward made an immediate impact on his debut for Nigeria against Sao Tome and Principe on September 10th, contributing with an assist in a commanding performance by the Super Eagles, who clinched a resounding 6-0 victory.
Victor Boniface Net Worth
For a player who has overcome his early challenges, his stock is on the rise. His net worth is estimated to be around $3 million to $5 million in 2023.
Victor Boniface Salary
Victor Boniface's salary information is not known at the time of writing. But it is believed that his move to Bayer Leverkusen will see him earn more than he did at Union Saint-Gilloise.
Things you didn't know about Victor Boniface
- Boniface scored a hat-trick for Bodo Glimt in a 3-0 win against Klaksvik in the UEFA Champions League preliminaries on July 6, 2022, making him the first player to score a hattrick for a Norwegian club since 2007
- The striker nearly quit football due to depression as he revealed in an interview with Nigerian journalist Ojora Babatunde. “I lost interest in football, I forgot about my diets, I began to eat everything, I started living a normal life, I just wanted to be happy, I started partying and drinking. I don’t drink normally, but I started it because I was depressed,” Boniface said.
- Boniface is currently represented by Aneke/Players Management Group, the same agency that handles Super Eagles stars Odion Ighalo and Chidera Ejuke
- TheSuper Eagles hopeful has had a long and brutal battle with injuries and he tore his ACL twice earlier in his career despite only being 22 years old.
- Bonifacefinished as joint-top scorer alongside Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford in the 2022/23 UEFA Europa League campaign with six goals in 10 games. And was also named in the tournament's official Team of the Season.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 weeks ago