Is Victor Osimhen’s near-perfect performance against Juventus the best of his career?

Is Victor Osimhen’s near-perfect performance against Juventus the best of his career?

The Nigeria international has produced some excellent displays for club and country since waving goodbye to international youth football in 2015, but how good was his performance versus the Old Lady? 

Victor Osimhen and strike partner Khvicha Kvaratskhelia were the stars of the show as Napoli completely outclassed Juventus at the Diego Maradona Stadium on Friday.

Osimhen grabbed two goals and an assist while the Georgian playmaker bagged a goal and two assists to inspire Napoli to a comprehensive 5-1 win over the visitors.

The Nigerian striker had been tipped to struggle against a Juventus defence marshalled by notorious Brazilian centre-back Gleison Bremer.

But Osimhen needed only 15 minutes to shake off his marker and nod home the opening goal for Napoli after goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny parried Kvaratskhelia’s initial effort.

Twenty-four minutes later, the Super Eagles attacker turned provider as he laid the ball on for Kvaratskhelia to plant a first-time shot beyond the reach of the Juventus goalie.

Osimhen completed his brace in the 65th minute, ghosting between two defenders to head home Napoli’s fourth goal of the evening and seal a memorable win. 

But is Osimhen’s excellent performance against Juventus the best in his career?

Victor Osimhen’s career since making his breakthrough at Royal Sporting Charleroi has been littered with several brilliant individual displays.

There was that stunning late brace at the Stade du Pays de Charleroi in 2018 that helped turn around a 2-1 deficit against Zulte Waregem to a 3-2 triumph.

Osimhen’s debut for Lille also remains memorable. The striker not only ran the centre-back pairing of Molla Wague and Nicolas Pallois ragged, but he also crowned his effort with a brace that lifted Lille to a 2-1 victory over Nantes.

There have been numerous similar one-man showings since Osimhen moved to Naples in 2020. Not much was made out of Osimhen’s stunning display in the second half of Napoli’s 3-0 win over Bayern Munich in a friendly at no other venue than the Allianz Arena.

Even his two remarkable second-half strikes against Leicester City in the Europa League in 2021 generated significant buzz despite it only earning Napoli a 2-2 draw at the King Power Stadium.

The Super Eagles striker has, however, been a different beast this season for club and country.

Osimhen scored four goals for the first time in his career as Nigeria pummelled Sao Tome and Principe in June. But the Islanders are minnows even by African football standards.

The former Wolfsburg signing scored the winning goal in Napoli’s unforgettable battle at Roma in October and followed that up with his first club hattrick in the 4-0 defeat of Sassuolo.

Osimhen has since produced goalscoring performances in wins over Atalanta, Udinese, and Sampdoria but none of those sides have the reputation of Juventus.

Juventus arrived in Naples on Friday as Serie A’s number-one in-form team. The Old Lady had won each of their last eight league matches and had incredibly climbed to second in the league, putting behind them a horrible start to the campaign.

Even more remarkably, Juventus won each of those games without conceding a goal, and without a doubt, they boasted the best defence in the Italian top flight.

Well, that was until Juventus met the unstoppable Nigerian bomber on Friday night, with Osimhen ensuring the former champions conceded five goals in a Serie A match since 1993.

Is Osimhen Africa’s best striker?

At the moment, no other African striker in Europe’s top five leagues has found the back of the net more times than Osimhen.

With his brace against Juventus, Osimhen now has 12 goals in only 14 Serie A matches this term, four more than his closest challengers in Italy.

It is the fifth consecutive season that Osimhen will hit a double figure of league goals in Europe, having managed 12 for Sporting Charleroi (2018/2019), 13 for Lille (2019/2020), and ten and 14 in his two previous campaigns at Napoli.

Osimhen’s upward trajectory is evident for all to see and it is only a matter of time before the youngster becomes not only Africa’s best but also the continent’s most valuable player.

At €80 million, Liverpool’s 30-year-old forward Mohamed Salah is the only African star more valued than Osimhen’s €70 million.

All that could change as soon as this summer should Osimhen lift the Italian Serie A title with Napoli and seal a much-anticipated record move to the English Premier League.

And even his worst critics would look back at his brilliance on nights like those against Juventus and admit that he deserved any applause that may come his way at that time.

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