'I was cleaning gutters in Nigeria'

Serie A

Nigeria and Napoli star Victor Osimhen recently opened up about his childhood, which involved him having to "clean gutters" to generate income before he was old enough to pursue a career in football.

The African forward joined Gli Azzurri from Lille in September 2020 for a club-record fee of €70 million (R1.1 billion), making him one of the continent's most expensive players of all time.  

The big-money move was a dramatic jump from just four years prior, when Osimhen was playing for local Nigerian team Ultimate Strikers Academy. 

Scroll through the gallery above to see Napoli's five most expensive signings ever, per Transfermarkt

The 22-year-old has big expectations on his shoulders that come with his hefty price tag, but the goal-getter has had a great start to the 2021/22 campaign with eight goals in nine games across all competitions for Napoli.

Now a high-profile player in Europe, Osimhen recently reflected on his journey to where he is today and also revealed which footballers inspired him.

Read: The top African goalscorers in Europe so far in 2021

"It all started like a dream, a boyhood dream from the slum," the striker said in a YouTube interview with countryman William Troost-Ekong, per Football Italia.

"I wanted to become a professional player, inspired by a lot of big legends like Didier Drogba, Odion Ighalo, Mikel Obi, and many others. 

"I feel like I have achieved this feat, it's one of my biggest achievements in life. 

"When I was growing up, I was cleaning the gutters for 20 naira, for my landlord and did some cleaning jobs for my neighbours close to my house, fetch the water for 80 naira, I think. 

"I found pleasure in doing these things because I believe, when I worked so hard to get this money, it was important for me, I had consciousness on how to spend this money and help my family. 

"My brother was selling newspapers, my sister oranges. I was in the traffic with water and I had to chase cars, give them the water to get the money. I feel like these struggles helped me in life. 

"I am grateful for where I am today because of what I've been through, it shaped me into the man I am. I am really grateful to God for that."

Here are the most expensive African signings of the latest window

Ronaldo Nazario makes Ballon d'Or pick

Aguero on how Messi felt upon Barca exit

'I thought signing Messi was a joke'

comments