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Ex-Napoli & West Ham man Paolo Di Canio faults Victor Osimhen’s behaviour after AFCON 2023

The Nigeria international has been on fire for the Neapolitans after returning from a successful campaign at the continental championships

Former Juventus and Napoli midfielder Paolo Di Canio has slammed Victor Osimhen for abandoning Napoli after the conclusion of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, Soccernet.ng reports.

Osimhen started all of Nigeria’s seven matches at the AFCON, where the Super Eagles secured a silver medal after losing the final of the competition 2-1 to hosts Cote d’Ivoire.

After the tournament, Osimhen returned briefly to Nigeria, where President Bola Tinubu hosted the Super Eagles to a dinner.

Each member of the Super Eagles squad and coaching crew was bestowed with national honours in appreciation of their exploits at the AFCON.

Osimhen returned to Napoli immediately after the ceremony, but he was omitted from the Napoli squad that faced Genoa that weekend.

Napoli manager Walter Mazzarri was sacked after that encounter as the Scudetto winners laboured to a disappointing 1-1 draw at the Diego Maradona Stadium.

Di Canio is convinced that Osimhen is decisive and impactful, and the former West Ham United midfielder believes the Nigerian’s presence could have helped Napoli if he had returned to Italy earlier.

“Osi is a sentence. We are talking about a decisive, fundamental striker,” Di Canio said, as per Tutto Napoli.

“I don’t like some of his behaviour, but when he goes on the pitch, he is devastating.”

Victor Osimhen
Victor Osimhen

When Di Canio was asked what kind of Osimhen behaviour he was referring to, the former Milan man responded,

“I think about the delay in returning from the African Cup; you go to Lagos (sic. Osimhen was in Abuja) to celebrate while you know that Napoli needs you.

“I’m not saying that he should have returned the next day, but I’ll take my holidays another time. Also, to give a signal.”

Osimhen has been excellent since his return to Naples, scoring in each of his three games for the Italian champions.

The 25-year-old striker found the net in the 1-1 draw with Barcelona in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League knockout round clash.

Osimhen also struck as Napoli drew 1-1 with Cagliari.

The former Lille striker took his performance to a higher level when he bagged a hat-trick as Napoli strolled to a 6-1 away victory against Sassuolo.

N.B: Is Paolo Di Canio right in his assessment of Victor Osimhen’s behaviour post-AFCON? Leave your comments below.