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“Territory of the gods” – Nigerian legend says Lookman is closer to football greatness than Osimhen

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Nigeria football icon Segun Odegbami says Victor Osimhen and Ademola Lookman are both on the path of football greatness following their excellent displays in recent times, Soccernet.ng reports.

Odegbami, however, believes Atalanta BC star Lookman may be further ahead of Osimhen in their ascent towards the great heights of the beautiful game.

Osimhen took his football to exciting new levels over the past year as his goals powered Napoli to their first Scudetto triumph in over three decades, while he became the first African to win the Italian Serie A top goal scorer award.

Victor Osimhen, Napoli

The former Lille forward’s efforts were further recognised when he was named the Africa Footballer of the Year, the first Nigerian to secure that achievement since Nwankwo Kanu in 1999.

However, Odegbami thinks the most valuable player on the continent has still not made the mental transition into the realm of the great players.

“That’s the slight shortfall, so far, in Victor Osimhen’s place in football till now,” Odegbami said, as per Complete Sports.

“He is a very good player but still on the periphery of greatness despite his becoming Africa’s best player and his stellar goalscoring in Napoli.

“When he makes that final mental transition, when he becomes fully aware of his capability and starts to play deliberately with ease, confidence, and composure, he will immediately join the ranks of the gods of African football.”

For Odegbami, though, Ademola Lookman has shown, with his display in the Europa League final last week that he has overcome that mental block.

Lookman struck a sensational hat-trick – the first of any African in a European final – to guide underdogs Atalanta BC to an emphatic 3-0 victory over Bundesliga winners Bayer Leverkusen. That defeat was the only one Bayer Leverkusen suffered in their 53 games across three competitions during the 2023/24 campaign.

The Super Eagles striker played with supreme confidence and took all his goals with such classy composure that he was named the Man of the Match.

Ademola Lookman, Atalanta
Ademola Lookman, Atalanta

That excellent performance, coupled with his brilliance at the 2023 AFCON, where he was Nigeria’s most productive player with three goals and an assist, convinced Odegbami Lookman is now in the ‘territory of the gods’ of football.

“Last Sunday night, during the final match of the Europa Cup, Ademola Lookman who flew like an eagle, may have transited into that realm,” Odegbami added.

“His three great goals, with a historic victory for his team to boot, may have taken him to the edge of greatness. In 90 minutes, at the moment of his club’s greatest challenge in football, he earned the transition rights through his performance.

“It is not easy to score a goal in football. To score two goals is extremely difficult. To score three in the finals of a European Club championship is a ‘miracle’.

“I listened to Ademola Lookman after the match when he addressed the press. I saw in his eyes and heard in his voice, the evidence of his metamorphosis from a really ‘good’ player to a ‘great’ one, going forward. Ademola will never be the same player again.

“In a quantum leap, he finally completed what he started at AFCON 2023. Now, he is in the territory of the gods of the ‘Beautiful game’.

“I congratulate him and wish him great days ahead in his football. It is now that Nigeria will start to enjoy and benefit from the greatness of the man.”

Lookman ended the 2023/24 season with 16 goals and nine assists across 44 appearances in all competitions for Atalanta.

NB: Do you agree with Odegbami that Lookman is closer to achieving greatness than Osimhen? Leave your comments below.

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