Super Eagles star, Victor Osimhen, has revealed that he knew his team, Napoli, has the quality to win the Italian Serie A. The Partenopei are practically untouchable at the top of the Serie A table, with an 18-point margin between them and Inter in second place.
In a conversation with Corriere della Sera, yesterday, Osimhen lifted the lid on Napoli’s remarkable season, his relationship with Luciano Spalletti and his teammates and the belief in both himself and the squad.
Osimhen has spearheaded the Napoli attack under Spalletti and with 19 league goals from 20 appearances, is also leading the race to the golden boot by some distance.
“We are in March and there is still some time to go. But yes, I want it all, we want it all,” he said.
“We are giving our lives to achieve this level of success. We deserve it and we are sacrificing everything to achieve it.
“We’re almost there, but we can’t afford to let ourselves get distracted right now. Our mentality is always the same, in Italy and in Europe: impose ourselves on the opposition and win.”
The strike partnership with Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has been nothing short of impressive as the duo has combined 33 goals this season. “There has been empathy from the very first moment. He’s a strong player, but also a great person and this, to me, counts,” said the striker.
With their impressive summer recruitment, Osimhen believes that Spalletti has curated a winning squad who believe they are capable of anything.
He explains that the shared responsibility among the squad is one of the key reasons behind Napoli’s success so far this season.
“We take care of each other, at all times. We rely on one another and if someone is having trouble, we are ready to lend a hand. There is solidarity, it’s difficult to explain to those who don’t experience it,” he said.
“Everyone’s belief is a benefit to the team as a collective. And when you believe in yourself, you feel strong and when you are strong you win. Then there is the coach, who is the nucleus of the team.
“If I become a coach one day, I’d like to be like him. A father off the field: ready to listen and to suggest advice on anything. In training, Spalletti is very strict and rigorous. He also gets angry, especially with those who don’t give 100 per cent,” he said.
Osimhen confessed that he has been on the receiving end of a telling off from Spalletti on a number of occasions: “It has happened in the past and will probably happen again.”
“There’s one thing that drives him mad: when he sees that someone isn’t doing what they are capable of. He is the first to give his best, he demands the same thing from us.”
Leading both the individual and league tables so far this season, the Nigerian international is playing with a mesmerising level of confidence and ruthlessness.
When asked about his self-belief, Osimhen responded: “I have a strong head. If I didn’t and if I wasn’t convinced of myself, I would have stopped.
“Someone in the past said that I would never make a living in football. And instead, here I am demonstrating that it is possible. If you want to do it, you can. No one has ever chosen anything for me, I came to Naples because that’s what I decided to do.”
Despite having 14 matches left to play, Napoli are already within touching distance of lifting their first Scudetto since the Maradona-led team of 1989-90. But within the current Napoli squad, the belief that winning the title was a realistic ambition has not been a recent realisation.
“It was summer and after a fairly tough training session, I was talking to Anguissa. I said to him: ‘Frank, you know that our team is strong and we can really try to win the Scudetto.’ He was sceptical and I convinced him. Spalletti approached and asked us what we were talking about, and I told him. He looked at me and said: ‘if your teammates are as convinced as you are, yes we can try.’”
Thanks to the stunning performances of Osimhen, Napoli have been able to upkeep their fantastic form across Serie A and the Champions League. The Nigerian has registered 21 goals and four assists in 25 appearances for the Partenopei this season, with 19 of those strikes coming exclusively in 20 Serie A encounters.