Napoli Coach Gives Update on Osimhen’s Fitness Ahead of UCL Clash vs Barcelona

Napoli Coach Gives Update on Osimhen’s Fitness Ahead of UCL Clash vs Barcelona

Chukwu Ikechukwu
February 18, 2024 at 2:24 PM
In this article:
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  • Victor Osimhen is doubtful to face Barcelona in the Champions League
  • The Nigerian striker was not listed in Napoli’s Serie A game vs Genoa
  • Osimhen is battling with fitness issues after the Africa Cup of Nations

Napoli are sweating over the fitness of star forward Victor Osimhen ahead of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash against Barcelona on Wednesday, February 21.

The 25-year-old Super Eagles striker was not listed in the Serie A champions squad as they played a 1-1 home draw against Genoa on Saturday as he only resumed training the previous day.

Victor Osimhen, Napoi,, UEFA Champions League, Barcelona
Victor Osimhen was not listed in Napoli's squad that drew 1-1 against Genoa on Saturday. Photo by NurPhoto.
Source: Getty Images

According to Complete Sports, Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri confirmed after the game that Osimhen was not in shape after returning from the Africa Cup of Nations and hopes he can be fit to play against Barcelona.

“According to him and to the medics, he was down to his last legs. He had a series of muscular issues and it would’ve been madness to play him here for 15 minutes and then risk losing him for months,” Mazzarri said after the game.
“It was wise, as the player himself agreed, to rest better and hope he can be ready for Barcelona. I say hope because I barely ever worked with Osimhen due to injuries and the Africa Cup of Nations, he was never in shape.”

Napoli will host Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium.

Chelsea holds discussions with Osimhen

Meanwhile, Premier League giants Chelsea have reportedly held talks to sign striker Victor Osimhen from Serie A champions Napoli in the summer transfer window, The Hard Tackle reports.

Osimhen has emerged as a potential target for the Blues, who will face stiff competition from Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain for his services.

Chelsea should have enough finances to trigger his release clause this summer. They have already started preliminary discussions to secure his services ahead of the 2024/25 season.

Victor Osimhen returns to Napoli

Earlier, Sports Brief reported that Victor Osimhen has returned to Serie A champion Napoli after representing Nigeria at the just-concluded 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in the Ivory Coast.

The 25-year-old forward finished the competition with one goal and one assist, below the standard most football fans and pundits set for him before the tournament.

Osimhen could not stop the host nation from winning the trophy as the Elephants defeated Jose Peseiro's side 2-1 in the final.

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Chukwu Ikechukwu
Chukwu Ikechukwu Godwin is a journalist with over 9 years of experience in the Nigerian media industry. He has worked both in Radio (Today FM, Rhythm FM, Wish FM) and Television (Silverbird TV) as a Sports Analyst..