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Serie A: Osimhen ‘feared racism’ before signing for Napoli

Super Eagles forward and Napoli new signing Victor Osimhen admitted on Wednesday he was skeptical of  joining the Serie A club because of the racist reputation of some fans in Italy.

Napoli splashed out a club record fee of up to 80 million euros ($94.6 million) to sign the Nigeria international from French outfit Lille.

“There was a bit of scepticism on my part, because the issue of racism is a problem that exists everywhere,” Osimhen told journalists.

“Then I visited the city of Naples, saw the environment with my own eyes and realised that I am in a wonderful city.

“(Racism) is a worldwide issue. I’m sure I have chosen well and the Neapolitans will make me feel at home with their love.”

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Built on survival✊🏽

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Racism has been a recurring problem in Italian stadiums, including monkey noises directed at black players.

Last season Brescia’s Italy international Mario Balotelli threatened to walk off the pitch after being targeted at Lazio and Hellas Verona.

But Osimhem said he had “always been convinced that Naples was the best choice for me both for the present and for the future.

“Both as a man and as a footballer.”

Napoli’s Senegalese international defender Kalidou Koulibaly confessed Osimhen had asked him about racism in Italy before joining the club.

“He called me, we talked about racism, I told him that coming to Naples he won’t have these problems, he will choose the right city,” Koulibaly told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I too felt the bitterness of the racist insult, but never in Naples. I reassured him, I told him that if he comes, he will have made the best choice.”

Interestingly, Osimhen was one of the most expensive players in Serie A history, costing almost double Napoli’s previous club record of around 40 million euros paid for Gonzalo Higuain in 2013 and Hirving Lozano last year.

“Playing with Napoli is a dream,” he said.

“I thank (owner Aurelio) De Laurentiis and (coach Gennaro) Gattuso who immediately considered me as their son.

“I decided to accept the challenge with Napoli right after speaking with them.

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Good training session with the lads🔥 @officialsscnapoli 💙🤍

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“For a young player like me, having this warmth is essential.”

Napoli finished seventh in Serie A last season and qualified for the Europa League after winning the Italian Cup, their first trophy in six years.

The new Serie A  season kicks off on September 19.

The post Serie A: Osimhen ‘feared racism’ before signing for Napoli appeared first on Sporting Life.

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