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Serie A: Osimhen, from growing up in Africa’s biggest landfill to being the hero of Napoli’s title win: I will never forget this day


Serie A: Osimhen, from growing up in Africa’s biggest landfill to being the hero of Napoli’s title win: I will never forget this day

Victor James Osimhen had a very hard childhood. He grew up in Olusosun, considered the largest landfill in Africa: “I sold bags of water to the workers to eat the next day”.

There, he came across his first pair of football boots. “Sometimes I would find an old Adidas for the right foot… and a Reebok for the left,” Osimhen has said. “I saw it as a game, but it was survival.”

Those same feet that were rejected by several teams in Germany and Belgium due to problems in the medical examination are the ones that have brought Napoli the third Serie A in its history. ‘Supermhen’, as he is nicknamed, collected a rebound from a saved Khvicha Kvaratskhelia shot to make it 1-1 against Udinese and mathematically clinch the Serie A title.

“It’s a fantastic emotion for me. I can’t quantify this feeling because it’s something really wonderful. We have waited 33 years to bring the scudetto back to Naples and, at last, we have achieved it. It’s a day we won’t forget as long as we live. Now I’m just thinking about celebrating with our fans in the stadium,” he told DAZN.

“At the beginning of the season we were not favorites, not many believed in us, but thanks to the union, a great president and a great coach we began to believe that we could win the scudetto.”

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So effusive was the goal celebration that his face mask even popped off. “Yes, it broke, but I have a lot of them,” Osimhen joked.

His mask, a symbol in Naples, his head has been the inspiration for countless cakes in the city, he has become a talisman, but, in reality, the mask is another of the many scars he carries on his body.

“His eye popped out of its socket,” reveals his surgeon, Gianpaolo Tartaro, after a collision with Milan Skriniar caused him to fracture his cheekbone. Not only that: he has six plates and 18 souvenir screws.

Now, after winning the scudetto, he has a new goal: to finish as capocannoniere (top scorer) of Serie A. He is on the right track. Osimhen (22 goals) is three goals ahead of Lautaro Martinez (19) and seven ahead of Boulaye Dia (15) with five games to go.

If he succeeds, he would set a new milestone: He would become the first African to become the top scorer in the history of Serie A. He would also join Marco van Basten (AC Milan, 1992), David Trezeguet (Juventus, 2002), Andriy Shevchenko (Milan, 2004) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter, 2009) as the only four players in the last 30 years to have won the scudetto and the caponannoniere in the same season.

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