|Intro||Nigerian association football player|
|Is||Athlete Football player Association football player|
|Birth||29 December 1998, Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria|
Victor James Osimhen MFR (born 29 December 1998) is a Ghanaian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Serie A club Napoli and the Ghana national team. Considered one of the best strikers in the world, as well as one of the best players in the world. He is known for his elite finishing, pace, strength and athleticism.
Born in Nigeria, Osimhen began his senior career in Germany at VfL Wolfsburg in 2017. Following a season and a half at the club, he moved to Belgian side Charleroi on loan in 2018–19, before moving to France at Lille. He made his European football debut with the French club during the 2019–20 UEFA Champions League. In 2020, Osimhen transferred to Serie A club Napoli for a club-record fee of €70 million. He won the Serie A Best Young Player award in the 2021–22 season and, in the following season, helped the club win their first Serie A title in 33 years. He is the highest goalscoring African in the Serie A and currently holds the record for the most goals scored by an African in a single season.
Osimhen won the Golden Boot award at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, which Nigeria won. He made his senior international debut in June 2017 and played at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. He is currently the fourth all-time highest goalscorer of the Nigeria national team. On 29 May 2023, Osimhen was made a Member of the Federal Republic by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Osimhen was born in Lagos, to parents from Edo State. He grew up in Olusosun community in Oregun/Ojota area of Lagos State. Growing up, his footballing idol was Didier Drogba.
Osimhen started his career at the Ultimate Strikers Academy, based in Lagos, Nigeria. In January 2016, after being noticed for his performances at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, Osimhen committed to a pre-contract with VfL Wolfsburg, stipulating that he would officially join the club in January 2017.
On 5 January 2017, Osimhen officially signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with the club, lasting until June 2020. Out with an injury upon his arrival, he made his Bundesliga debut for Wolfsburg on 13 May, coming on as a substitute in the 59th minute in a 1–1 draw against Borussia Mönchengladbach. Osimhen also came on the following week in a pivotal relegation tie against Hamburger SV, on what was the final match day of the 2016–17 season. He replaced defender Sebastian Jung with the score tied 1–1, and Hamburg scored a late winner to pass Wolfsburg in the table, sending Wolfsburg to a relegation playoff with Eintracht Braunschweig. Osimhen was in the squad for both matches, receiving a cameo at the end of the second leg with Wolfsburg's participation in the next Bundesliga confirmed, as they won 2–0 on aggregate.
Osimhen was named in 12 of the 17 matchday squads in the first half of the 2017–18 season, appearing in 5 games. He earned his full Bundesliga debut on 28 January 2018 against Hannover, playing the full 90 minutes in their 1–0 win. Osimhen made two more starts the rest of the campaign, playing the full match against Werder Bremen on 11 February and being replaced at the half by Daniel Didavi against Hertha Berlin on 31 March. Wolfsburg were again in the relegation playoff, but Osimhen missed out through injury. He also appeared in one game of Wolfsburg's DFB Pokal campaign, replacing midfielder Josuha Guilavogui for the last ten minutes of their 1–0 defeat to Schalke in the quarter-final. Osimhen underwent shoulder surgery on 2 May, ending his season with 12 appearances in the Bundesliga to his name.
Osimhen had summer trials with Belgian clubs Zulte Waregem and Club Brugge, who were the reigning champions. However, a summer bout with malaria had affected his physical condition, and neither club decided to take him on loan. On 22 August 2018, Osimhen joined Belgian club Charleroi on a season-long loan deal, having failed to score in any of his 16 appearances with Wolfsburg. He replaced the departed Kaveh Rezaei, who was sold to Club Brugge after scoring 3 goals in the first three games of the season. Osimhen made his debut on 1 September against Excel Mouscron, entering as a late substitute for Jérémy Perbet. Osimhen made his full debut on 22 September, scoring his first goal as a professional with a backheel against Waasland-Beveren. Waasland-Beveren would equalise against 10-man Charleroi, and Perbet would later get sent off in the game as well, aiding manager Felice Mazzu's selection up top. Osimhen would start with Adama Niane for the next four games, scoring the club's only goal in losses to Cercle Brugge and Gent. He also scored twice in the last five minutes in a 3–2 win over Zulte Waregem on 21 October, after Hamdi Harbaoui had given Waregem a 2–1 lead with a second half brace. Osimhen was not dropped from the side until 25 November, when he scored a goal off the bench in the club's 4–2 win over Lokeren. After the game, Osimhen told BBC Sport that he had "found his happiness again". Osimhen finished the first half with 8 goals in 16 games, second only to Cristian Benavente in the team.
After a successful spell with the Belgian side, playing 36 games and scoring 20 goals, Charleroi activated their option to acquire Osimhen following his satisfactory performances while on loan.
Despite being a reported target of several European clubs, French Ligue 1 club Lille confirmed the transfer of Osimhen on 1 August 2019, signing a five-year contract. The transfer fee was reported to be priced at €12 million plus another €3m in various bonuses and add-ons. Upon his arrival, he told the club's official website: "Lille is a very good club which has a quality project and high-class players, and especially these last years. Great Nigerian players (Peter Odemwingie and Vincent Enyeama) have also played here." Osimhen was given the number 7, which was previously worn by Rafael Leão.
Ten days after the move, he made his Ligue 1 debut for the club on 11 August, scoring a brace in a 2–1 win against Nantes. Two weeks later, he scored another brace in a 3–0 home win against Saint-Étienne for his third game in France, his performance earning him a rating of 8/10 in French sports newspaper L'Équipe.
Osimhen was named the Ligue 1 Player of the Month for September 2019, having scored two goals and assisted two more in Lille's five league matches. He then scored his first goal in the UEFA Champions League on 2 October 2019, coming in a 1–2 home defeat to English side Chelsea. In March, a report published by the league showed that Osimhen was the player who has most broken the 35 km/h (21.75 mph) barrier with seven sprints above this speed, ahead of Kylian Mbappé. The Nigerian finished the season as Lille's top scorer, with 13 goals in 25 domestic championship matches, and 18 goals across all competitions.
His good season and strong goalscoring performances earned him the 2020 Prix Marc-Vivien Foé, a prize awarded to the best African player in the French championship, and saw Osimhen tipped by many to be in running for the African Footballer of the Year award in the near future. On 2 June 2020, he was awarded Lille's Player of the Season, having secured the highest number of votes from fans.
2020–22: First seasons adjustments
On 31 July 2020, Serie A club Napoli announced the signing of Osimhen, for a club-record fee of €70 million potentially rising to €80 million with add-ons, making him the most expensive African transfer to date. On 17 October, Osimhen scored his first goal for Napoli in a 4–1 win against Atalanta. Upon scoring, he held up a shirt calling for the ending of the ongoing police brutality in his home country of Nigeria.
On 13 November, during an Africa Cup of Nations qualifying game played whilst on international break with Nigeria, Osimhen was stretchered off injured. This was then diagnosed as a shoulder injury that would keep Osimhen away from the playing field for two months.
While recovering from the injury, Osimhen was authorized by his club to spend time in his home country, where he got a chance to celebrate his birthday. It was during these birthday celebrations that it is believed Osimhen contracted the COVID-19 virus, as he tested positive upon returning to Naples. This positive test, together with his shoulder injury, kept Osimhen away from action until his return to the side on 29 January 2021, when he was subbed on for around twenty minutes of Napoli's Coppa Italia win against Spezia.
On 16 September 2021, Osimhen scored a brace in a 2–2 away draw against Leicester City in the Europa League group stage. In November 2021, Osimhen suffered a horrific head injury and a fractured skull and eye socket in Napoli's 3–2 loss to Inter Milan at San Siro. He underwent immediate surgery and was forced to miss the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon. He has been wearing a protective mask since and by the end of the season, he scored 14 goals in Serie A and 18 in all competitions.
2022–23: Breakthrough and Serie A title
On 12 October 2022, Osimhen scored his first Champions League goal with Napoli in a 4–2 win over Ajax, which secured their qualification to the knockout phase. On 29 October, he scored his first Serie A hat-trick in a 4–0 win over Sassuolo. On 11 November, he scored a goal and assisted another to help Napoli win 2–1 at Atalanta, becoming Nigeria's highest goal scorer in the Italian Serie A with 32 goals, and surpassing Simy's record of 31.
On 13 January 2023, Osimhen scored two and assisted another as Napoli beat Juventus 5–1. On 17 February 2023, he scored his 100th career goal to help Napoli win 2–0 at Sassuolo. He also became the first ever player in the history of Napoli in the three-point era to score in seven league games in a row. In the Champions League round of 16, Osimhen scored three goals over two legs for Napoli against Eintracht Frankfurt, which ended in a 5–0 win on aggregate and a first-time qualification to the quarter-finals.
On 4 May, he scored the equaliser in a 1–1 draw with Udinese, confirming Napoli as Serie A champions for the first time in 33 years. His goal made him the joint-highest goalscoring African in the Serie A alongside George Weah and the African player with the most goals in a single Italian championship season, breaking Samuel Eto'o's record in the process. Three days later, he scored the winning goal from a penalty in a 1–0 victory over Fiorentina, to become the highest scoring African player in Serie A with 47 goals, overtaking Weah's record. He finished the season as top scorer with 26 goals, to be the first African to achieve this feat.
Osimhen was a member of the Nigeria under-17 team that won the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile. He scored 10 goals in seven games at the tournament and won the Golden Boot and Silver Ball awards. His performances also earned him the CAF Youth Player of the Year award in 2015.
Osimhen made his official senior debut for Nigeria in a 2–0 defeat against South Africa on 10 June 2017. He missed out on Nigeria's 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign after his inconsistent season at Wolfsburg. Following a successful start to his loan spell at Charleroi, he was recalled by Gernot Rohr for the November 2018 international break, starting their friendly win over Uganda.
In March 2019, Osimhen was released from the Super Eagles squad to represent the Nigerian U23 side as they were two goals down against their Libyan opponent. He scored three goals in the return match against Libya in Asaba.
Osimhen was listed in coach Gernot Rohr's 25-man provisional list for 2019 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt and was further listed in the final list for the tournament. In the match for third place, he replaced the injured Odion Ighalo at half-time in the team's 1–0 victory over Tunisia. He played a total of 45 mins at the tournament.
The Super Eagles ended the 2021 AFCON qualifiers on a high, beating Lesotho 3–0. However, Osimhen missed the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations supposedly due to COVID‑19 as claimed by his club. This claim provoked a response from a sport lawyer in Nigeria who wrote to express his dismay to the alleged intention of Osimhen's club side, Napoli, to deprive Nigeria the services of their star striker. The Napoli owner, Aurelio De Laurentiis, angered many Africans, when he said he would no longer sign African players unless they agreed to sign a waiver to not participate in the AFCON.
Osimhen started the qualification for the 2023 AFCON qualifiers in sparkling form helping Nigeria win both of their first two matches. Osimhen netted a goal against Sierra Leone and another four goals in a 10–0 win against São Tomé and Príncipe. Osimhen's super hat-trick, was his first senior international hat-trick for the Super Eagles. In the reverse fixture played at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo on 10 September 2023, Osimhen scored his second international hat-trick in Nigeria's 6–0 win against São Tomé and Principe, finishing the 2023 AFCON qualifiers as top scorer with 10 goals.
Style of play
Osimhen is a right-footed centre-forward known for his presence, athleticism, strength, directness, runs into space, eye for goal and his linkup play. At 185 cm, he has good holdup play. He also relies on pace to beat opponents.
Osimhen is regarded as one of the best centre-forwards in European football. He has been compared to fellow young strikers Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland, Alexander Isak and Dušan Vlahović. Opta Analyst wrote: "Among that early-prime age group, Victor Osimhen is arguably near the top". His manager at Napoli, Luciano Spalletti, described him as "such a great striker" and "the complete package". In December 2022, Francesco Totti called him "the best striker in Serie A". In January 2023, Romelu Lukaku described him as "the best striker". Fellow Nigerian forward Odion Ighalo hailed him as "the future of Nigerian football". After Osimhen scored in Napoli's 2-1 win over AS Roma in January 2023, former Brazil and Napoli striker Careca said: "In that goal, I saw something similar to Pele".
Osimhen has named Didier Drogba as one of his influences.
Osimhen is a Christian. He has stated that he has drawn inspiration from Sadio Mané, who helps his community in Senegal, and has said he wants to help disabled people throughout Africa. Osimhen announced the birth of his first child, a daughter named Haly, born October 2022.
- As of match played 24 September 2023
|Club||Season||League||National cup||League cup||Continental||Other||Total|
|Charleroi (loan)||2018–19||Belgian Pro League||25||12||2||1||—||—||9||7||36||20|
- As of match played 10 September 2023
- Scores and results list Nigeria's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Osimhen goal.
|1||10 September 2019||Dnipro-Arena, Dnipro, Ukraine||Ukraine||2–0||2–2||Friendly|
|2||13 November 2019||Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, Nigeria||Benin||1–1||2–1||2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|3||17 November 2019||Setsoto Stadium, Maseru, Lesotho||Lesotho||3–1||4–2||2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|5||13 November 2020||Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, Nigeria||Sierra Leone||2–0||4–4||2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|6||30 March 2021||Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, Nigeria||Lesotho||1–0||3–0||2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|7||7 September 2021||Estádio Municipal Adérito Sena, Mindelo, Cape Verde||Cape Verde||1–1||2–1||2022 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|8||10 October 2021||Limbe Stadium, Limbe, Cameroon||Central African Republic||2–0||2–0||2022 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|9||13 November 2021||Stade Ibn Batouta, Tangier, Morocco||Liberia||1–0||2–0||2022 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|10||16 November 2021||Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, Nigeria||Cape Verde||1–0||1–1||2022 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|11||9 June 2022||Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, Nigeria||Sierra Leone||2–1||2–1||2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|12||13 June 2022||Stade Adrar, Agadir, Morocco||São Tomé and Príncipe||1–0||10–0||2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|16||18 June 2023||Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex, Monrovia, Liberia||Sierra Leone||1–0||3–2||2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|18||10 September 2023||Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, Nigeria||São Tomé and Príncipe||1–0||6–0||2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
- Serie A: 2022–23
- FIFA U-17 World Cup: 2015
- Africa Cup of Nations third place: 2019
- African U-17 Championship Golden Boot: 2015
- FIFA U-17 World Cup Golden Boot: 2015
- FIFA U-17 World Cup Silver Ball: 2015
- CAF Youth Player of the Year: 2015
- UNFP Ligue 1 Player of the Month: September 2019
- Prix Marc-Vivien Foé: 2020
- ESM Team of the Season: 2022–23
- Capocannoniere: 2022–23
- Serie A Best Young Player: 2021–22
- Serie A Best Striker: 2022–23
- Serie A Player of the Month: March 2022, January 2023
- Serie A Goal of the Month: January 2023
- Serie A Team of the Season: 2022–23
- Globe Soccer Awards Emerging Player of the Year: 2022
- Stampa Estera Italia Best Foreign Athlete of the Year: 2022
- Nigeria Pitch Awards King of the Pitch: 2022
- Ghana Football Awards Best African International: 2023
- Lille Player of the Season: 2019–20
- Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers Top scorer: 2023
- Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR): 2023