Osimhen proclaims love for Napoli fans after TikTok row

AFP , Sunday 1 Oct 2023

Napoli striker Victor Osimhen on Sunday defended his club and the people of Naples against accusations of racism after a video published online mocked him for missing a penalty.

Napoli s Victor Osimhen reacts during the Serie A soccer match between Napoli and Udinese at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium in Naples, Italy, Wednesday Sept. 27, 2023. AP


The TikTok post, which was subsequently deleted from the club's official social media, showed Osimhen failing to score his spot-kick in last weekend's Serie A match against Bologna, with a high-pitched voice saying "gimme penalty please".

Osimhen's agent threatened legal action although the club said it "never intended to offend or make fun" of last season's leading scorer, without offering a formal apology.

The Nigerian, who scored in wins over Udinese and Lecce this week, sought to ease the tension after allegations of racism, notably from back home.

"Coming to the city of Naples in 2020 was a wonderful decision for me. The people of Naples have shown me so much love and kindness, and I will not allow anyone to come between us," Osimhen wrote in an Instagram post.

"The accusations against the people of Naples are untrue. I have a lot of friends that are Neapolitans and have become part of my family and everyday life."

"I appreciate Nigerians and everyone for lending their voices to support and reach out to me," he added. "Let's continue to spread unity, respect and understanding."

Osimhen's agent, Roberto Calenda, said the video at the origin of the rift was "not acceptable" while the Napoli star then withdrew almost all pictures of himself in the club's shirt from social media.

In his statement Sunday, Osimhen, who drew interest from Europe's leading clubs in the summer, reaffirmed his "love for the (Napoli) badge is unwavering as I wear it with pride".

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