Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen has expressed a desire to be named a Napoli club icon like the late great Diego Armando Maradona, after whom their home ground is named.
The former LOSC Lille striker has been one of the club’s best performers since signing for an African transfer record in 2020. This season, he has built on his performances to not only become the Serie A leading goalscorer, but the club’s 16th highest goalscorer with 49 goals from 88 games played.
His goals have also put Napoli in pole position to claim their first Scudetto since 1990, which was inspired by Maradona, and they have also placed him just a few goals behind Europe’s leading goalscorer, Manchester City’s Erling Haaland, in the race for the European golden shoe.
The 24-year-old has gone from a troubled start in his career to becoming one of the world’s best strikers and a man sought after by the biggest clubs around the world.
He was recently honoured by the foreign press that covered Italy for his performances in this season’s Serie A, and during his acceptance speech, he mentioned Maradona’s achievements as his motivation to keep going strong for the Partenopei.
“I don’t consider myself as an icon yet until I achieve the objective which the club has set itself for this season,” Osimhen said while picking up the award in Rome.
Asked if he could achieve icon status like Maradona if Napoli win the league, he answered: “I think (I) have a very big chance of being named an icon. It wouldn’t compare to what Maradona has done for this club.”
The 2022/23 Serie A season has 13 games left and Napoli are comfortably sat at the top of the table with a lead of 15 points.
Only five straight losses without picking up any points in between can put their chances of claiming the Svudetto this season in jeopardy, but Luciano Spaletti’s men are unlikely to go on such a bad run.
Club president Aurelio De Laurentiis has spoken about how the league season is changing the face of the town based in Italy’s poorer Southern region.
Memorabilia of the league season are already being sold at breakneck speeds by the small business owners, giving them more income than they have enjoyed in a while. Osimhen’s trademark face mask is also being replicated and sold. It is even put on pastries and Easter eggs, and the small businesses responsible are making a killing.
De Laurentiis believes that the win will change the face of the city permanently.
“It’s been 33 years since the last scudetto,” the Napoli chief said. “[Another title] could make the city go crazy, I think it is already going crazy and planning (a party) which could involve two or three million people.”