Best Nigerian Players in Uefa Club Competitions You Didn’t Know!

Players with ties to Nigeria have for many years shone in Europe’s best competitions. This article highlights some of the best Nigerian Players in Uefa Club Competitions You Didn’t Know. These players have made it to the finals and semi finals of UEFA’s three marquee competitions.

They are :

Joshua Aribo

Joe Aribo, one of the continent’s most gifted center midfielders, is the sixth best Nigerian player in the world. With 8 league goals and 6 assists in the Scottish Premiership, the 25-year-old delivered the best season of his career to guide Rangers to second in the league and cushion the impact of Steven Gerard’s departure.

It is, however, in the UEFA Europa League where he has a chance of etching his name in history. Glasgow Rangers and Eintracht Frankfurt clash in the final. It is expected to be one of the most feisty finals in recent UEL history.

Aribo will be expected to set the pace of the high-stakes match. No player in the competition has created more high-quality opportunities than he has.

Cyriel Dessers

A big game player and Nigeria’s best performing player in international club competitions. Cyriel Dessers has been the most talked about non-international of the season.

The striker was left out of Nigeria’s relatively star-studded roster for AFCON 2021. He scored 9 league goals in the Eredivisie, an uninspiring total for a center forward.

But these numbers gain relevance when put into the proper context. The Feyenoord man achieved these numbers in just 9 league starts, an exact average of a goal per game.

5 of his 9 goals came against the top 5 teams in the Dutch division.  The Belgian-born forward etched a reputation as one of the deadliest super-subs in Dutch football and one of Nigeria’s best players.

However, when contrasted to the colossal figures he produced in the first Europa Conference League, these impressive stats became somewhat trivial.

Dessers scored 10 goals in 11 appearances in just 6 UEFA tournament starts, propelling Feyenoord to the brink of European glory with a trip to the final.

Kolawole boasts the best goals-per-minute ratio in both the Europa Conference League and the Eredivisie. This statistic would normally qualify him as one of the most clinical strikers in the world. Although not on that list, being recognized as one of the best Nigerian footballers is a major achievement in itself.

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Samuel Chukwueze

Another mediocre goal scoring season for Samuel Chukwueze. He not yet lived up to the promise of enormous potential for a number of years.

The 23-year-old underwhelmed with 3 league goals and 3 assists in 12 starts (26 apps) .He has  failed to crack the 10-goal barrier in yet another season .

However,  his statistics in comparison with teammates in Villareal and countrymen in Europe’s top 5 leagues don’t look bad.

His vital Champions League goal  eliminated tournament favorites  Bayern Munich. Villareal fans will remember him for booking their place in their first UEFA Champions League semi-finals in decades.

Wilfred Ndidi

A rare injury-ravaged season for Nigeria’s best midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi. He still soared as one of Super Eagles’ best players.

The combative midfield general was forced to spend the last 11 games of Leicester’s campaign on the sidelines following a season-ending knee injury.

Nevertheless, Ndidi will be remembered for his early-season Premier League heroics in defense. He still  ranks him first in tackles and fifth in interceptions per game.

He was also the roadblock in front an impenetrable shield that only let in two goals at AFCON 2021.He made the 3rd most tackles per game. In 2022, he is still one of Nigeria’s best footballers.

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Kelechi Iheanacho

Kelechi Iheanacho is a Leicester City attacker who has played in a good number of the side’s Premier League games in 2021/2022. He made 26 appearances overall and playing 1,260 minutes. He has been selected in the starting XI thirteen times  and has been used in a substitute role on 13 occasions.

The last Premier League appearance that Iheanacho made came on May 19 for Leicester City versus Chelsea; a game that he played 63 minutes in during a 1-1 draw. The attacker has netted four Premier League goals this campaign.

It was versus Tottenham Hotspur on May 1 when Iheanacho last scored, netting in a 3-1 defeat. His opening goal of the campaign came in the 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace on October 3.

Leicester City occupy ninth in the league standings with 49 points. They face off against Southampton in Premier League action on May 22.

In last season’s Premier League, Iheanacho appeared in 25 games for Leicester City, scored 12 goals and provided two assists.

Iheanacho began his Premier League career for Manchester City on August 29, 2015. He played one minute as a substitute against Watford at the age of eighteen years and  eleven months. He debuted at club Leicester City in his side’s game with Arsenal on August 11, 2017.

In his Premier League career overall, he has played 168 games in the competition. He has scored over thirty goals and provided twenty assists. Iheanacho has been shown eight yellow cards overall. He is yet to be sent off , despite making 168 appearances so far.

This article has outlined some of the best Nigerian Players in UEFA Club Competitions and their statistics for the season so far.