Spotlight on Chukwueze as Liverpool takes on Villarreal
After an injury-plagued spell, Nigeria’s Samuel Chukwueze is back in action with Spanish club Villarreal, looking to cause another upset after downing one of Europe’s elite, according to the BBC.
The winger, who has a magnificent left foot and is full of pace and skill, is the most recent African talent to catch the eye in the Champions League.
Earlier this month, the 22-year-old scored a late winner to help Villarreal beat Bayern Munich 2-1 on aggregate to reach the semi-finals of Europe’s top club competition for the first time in 16 years.
He now has his sights set on another member of the elite, as the Yellow Submarine face Liverpool, the six-time European champions, in the semifinals.
“We know everything there is to know about Liverpool, and they are expected to win, so the pressure is on them,” Chukwueze told BBC Sport Africa ahead of today’s first leg.
“We have a squad and a manager capable of competing against any team in the world.” Some people have already made their own predictions based on the way Liverpool plays, but that is normal in football.
“We have a task to complete, and we are not going to Liverpool to fail.” Why not strive for the best outcome over there? And that is what we hope to accomplish.”
Chukwueze, who almost joined Arsenal in 2016, is eager to relive the emotions he felt during Bayern Munich’s victory, which he describes as “an unforgettable moment for my career.”
“I came on as a late substitute and scored a winner that I will never forget,” he said.
“You honestly have no idea how much it meant to the players, the club, our fans and the city.
“Everything happened so quickly. My teammates kept yelling “Samu!” and I couldn’t process it at the time. And, to be honest, I couldn’t keep it together. I looked across to our fans, and when I saw them crying with joy, I realized the significance of that goal.
“With Villarreal, I hope to write more significant chapters in my career.” I’ve got more games to play, and personal glory isn’t the goal.”
The Reds are favourites to win the competition, but Villarreal has shown a real pedigree in cup competitions under manager Unai Emery.