• Monday, May 27, 2024
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UCL: Osimhen doubtful for Napoli vs Barcelona clash


Serie A champions Napoli are battling to keep Nigeria international and reigning African Footballer of the Year Victor Osimhen fit for their Uefa Champions League (UCL) Round of 16 match against Barcelona on Wednesday.

Osimhen returned to Italy on Thursday after guiding Nigeria to the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations and missed Napoli’s 1-1 home draw against Genoa on matchday 25 in Serie A on Saturday.

Napoli manager Walter Mazzarri said Osimhen might not be fully fit for Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday, as reports emerge over his fitness.

Osimhen has not been with his teammates since the end of December, as he flew out to prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria.

“We can only hope he can be ready, but his presence is not certain. According to him and the medical staff, he’s nowhere near fully fit, he has some muscular issues.

“After the Africa Cup of Nations, it would have been silly to risk him here and risk losing him for another couple of months. He will train tomorrow and we hope to have him ready for Barcelona.”

Osimhen scored one goal and helped his side reach the AFCON final, where they lost 2-1 to the host nation Ivory Coast last Sunday.

Osimhen did not return to Naples until late Thursday evening after missing a flight and his first training session was on Friday.

But Italian sports journalist Paolo Condò criticised Napoli for not providing Osimhen with a private jet to bring him back to Italy several days ago.