Top 10 Super Eagles players in Europe during 2020/2021 Season
The 20/21 season in Europe culminated on Sunday with lots of surprises and intrigues especially in France, Italy and England. Super Eagles weren’t left out of these activities, as many made significant strides in the course of the season. In this article, we’ll take a look at the top 10 Nigerian players who performed have incredibly well with their club-side in the season.
10. Leon Balogun
Clubside: Glasgow Rangers
League: Scottish Premiership
The Super Eagles defender and one of the country’s Fans favorite won two trophies with his club side Glasgow Rangers of Scotland. He made a switch to Rangers from English Premier League side, Brighton & Hove Albion in the summer of 2020. He made a total of 28 appearances across all competitions, winning the Scottish League and Scottish cup with Rangers
The 32 year old footballer was born and bred in Germany, to a Nigerian-Yoruba father, Mr Cesar Balogun and a German mother, Mrs Orfa Balogun.
9. Terem Moffi
Clubside: FC Lorient
League: French Ligue 1
Teremas Igobor called Terem Moffi is a Nigerian striker who plays for French top flight side – FC Lorient.
The Super Eagles invitee was one of the break-out stars in the French Ligue 1 this season. He starred for his club side scoring 15 goals in all competition – 14 goals in the League and 1 goal in the French cup. His goals included a hat trick against Kalu Uche’s side Bordeaux, and a brace against Monaco.
His 14 goals have equaled a record set by Super Eagles legend Victor Ikpeba who scored 14 Ligue 1 goals for Monaco in 97/98 season – a record that stood for over two decades.
It’s incredible to note that Moffi had never played in any of Europe’s top five leagues until this season, and this record of goals is worth of note. His club coach Christophe Pélissier , believes there is more to come from the 21 year old Nigerian next season. He has been invited to the super Eagles Games against Cameroon in Austria next week.
8. Maduka Okoye
Clubside: Sparta Rotterdam
League: Dutch Eredivise
Maduka Okoye is the only Goal-Keeper on this List. The Super Eagles goalkeeper who currently plays for Sparta Rotterdam in the Eredivise (Dutch League) had an incredible 20/21 season, after moving from his German home club.
The rising star with a growing popularity in Nigeria & Europe was one of the stand-out stars, not only in his club side Sparta Rotterdam, but in the League at Large. The 6.50 feet Goal Keeper, who also switched his allegiance to Nigeria, made 28 appearances in the Dutch league, conceding 35 goals and keeping 10 clean sheets.
A mountain before opposing attackers, he has been nominated for the Eredivisie goalkeeper of the year award by Dutch website Voetzbalzone.
He was named in the team of the year by the same website after a fantastic season with Sparta Rotterdam in the Eredivisie – his first season with his club.
He posted on his twitter page:
“A great season came to an end last night.
Happy to be part of this Club!!
I thank God almighty for all he done for me”
Maduka Okoye has been touted as the next Super Eagles Number 1 Goal Keeper and a potential long-term solution in that position.
7. Zaidu Sanusi
Clubside: FC Porto
League: Primeira Liga
Sanusi had a season to remember as he broke fully into the first team of his club and was immense all through the season, which included terrific performances in the UEFA Champions League. They even knocked out Italian Giants Juventus.
He was instrumental in his team’s title chase, though they lost out of the League to eventual champions and rivals Sporting Lisbon.
Sanusi was signed for a fee of £4 million after an impressive first season in the Primeira Liga with Santa Clara. He was originally brought in to be a backup for Alex Telles, but he has since established himself in the team after the departure of Telles to Manchester United.
Sanusi made a total of 40 games in all competitions, churning 2 goals, 1 assists and getting the ‘man of the match’ award once. As he approaches the end of the first of a five-year deal at Porto, Zaidu Sanusi has displayed the potential to be one of the best 2-way full-backs in the world, capable of impacting the game in attack and defense. The 23 year old agile Left back who likes to cross, will be hoping to produce a better performance next season.
6. Joe Aribo
Clubside: Glasgow Rangers
League: Scottish Premiership
The 24 year old midfielder was a key member of the victorious Rangers side coached by Liverpool and England Legend, Steven Gerrard.
Joseph Oluwaseyi Temitope Ayodele-Aribo who was born in London, helped his club achieve great stride by winning the Scottish Premiership title without losing any match. They also won the Scottish cup and got to the Quarter finals of the UEFA Europa League. He made a total of 42 appearances, scoring 8 goals and making a further 7 assists to cap a brilliant season.
The 6fts central midfielder who can play as a Right midfielder and attacking midfielder started in 70% of the games in the season. His brilliant performances haven’t gone unnoticed as reports say Turkish League Giant Galatasary are interested in his services.
5. Wilfred Ndidi
Clubside: Leicester City
League: English Premier League
Touted as one of the best defensive midfielder in England, Ndidi has moved from strength to strength since joining Leicester City from Genk. Living up to N’Golo Kante’s standards is no child’s play and that’s exactly what Wilfred Ndidi has done at Leicester City. He has been crucial to Leicester City’s top four ambitions, though they finally missed out on the last day, losing to Tottenham.
Although he missed many parts of the season with a nasty adductor injury that kept him out for three months in the first half of the campaign, he is still among the top 5 defensive midfielders in the EPL and a growing recognition in world football.
The tireless midfielder won the FA Cup with his team, helping them beat Chelsea 1-0. He made a total of 36 appearances in all competition, coring 1 goal and making 4 assists.
In terms of his defensive duties, Ndidi made 96 Tackles, 66% Tackle success, 61 Interceptions, 52 Clearances, 33 Headed Clearance, 227 Recoveries, 184 Duels won, 57 Aerial battles won and 0 Errors leading to goal.
Incredibly, in the 26 games he played in the League, his club only lost 7 times – this shows his immense contributions to Leicester City.
4. Samuel Chukweze
Clubside: Villarreal CF
League: Spanish La Liga
The dazzling winger has shone this season again in the colors of the Yellow Submarines. Under Unai Emery, Samuel Chukwueze appears to finally be blossoming into that player, adding decisive contributions to his dazzling speed and close control. He was one of Unai Emery’s key players in the League, finishing in 7th position. He made 40 appearances across all competitons – La Liga, Europa League and Copa Del Ray. This has brought 8 assists and 5 goals.
Chukweze has also started 7 out of 10 league matches between mid-February and the start of May, to show how well Emery has trusted his golden boy.
His trickery and overall contributions in Europe also propelled Villarreal into the Final of the UEFA Europa League against Manchester United, which they eventually won last night via penalties. Chukweze didn’t play because of an injury he got against Arsenal in the Semi-Final in London. Yesterday’s feat means Chukweze has won a first team trophy for the first time in his career.
He joins the growing list of Nigerian players who have won a major European Cup competition. He is also among Nigerians who won a trophy this season with their clubs.
3. Simy Nwankwo
Clubside: FC Crotone
League: Italian Serie A
Scoring 20 goals in a season in a tough league like the Serie A, is worthy of high praise. Few established strikers in the World, managed this feat this season. This is the summary of Simy’s season with Crotone, although his goals weren’t enough to keep his team in Serie A, as they got relegated. His 20 goals club is a new record for a Nigerian striker in a single season in one of Europe’s top leagues. He has overtaken Yakubu’s Aiyegbeni who scored 17 goals in the 2011-12 campaign for Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League.
The lanky but composed striker Simy is also the all-time leading Nigerian goalscorer in the Italian league. His 30 goals erased the record set by former Super Eagles striker, ` Obafemi Martins (28 goals) when he played for Inter Milan between 2002 and 2006.
In March, Simy became the third African player in Serie A history to find the net in five games in a row after Liberia’s George Weah in 1996 and Senegal’s Keita Balde in 2017.
He is also the highest scoring African player ever in the Italian top-flight.
2. Kelechi Iheanacho
Clubside: Leicester City
League: English Premier League
What a season Kelechi Iheanacho has had with Leicester City, after a turbulent career that has seen his value dropped in the past 3 seasons. ‘Senior Man Kels’ as he is fondly called, shone brightly this season with some tremendous performances especially since the turn of the new year.
Iheanacho scored 19 goals and 7 assists in all competitions for the Foxes with 12 of those goals coming in the League between February and May 2021.
He also played a vital role in Leicester’s FA Cup triumph, scoring against Brighton, Manchester United and Southampton. He ended the season as Leicester highest goal scorer, won the FA Cup and helped them qualify for the UEFA Europa league (having narrowly missed out of Champions League football).
Kelechi Iheanacho was also awared the ‘goal of the season’ for his clever and world class finish against Crystal Palace in April The centre-forward fired home a first-time effort after he was set up by Jonny Evans, who made a great tackle to win the ball earlier.
1. Paul Onauchu
Clubside: KRC Genk
League: Belgian Jupiler League
Super Eagles best performing player in this concluded season, Onauchu has proven critics wrong once again. He was by far the most lethal striker in the Belgian League, notching 35 goals in 42 matches (in all competition), raking another 6 assists in what became his most prolific season of his rising career. He became the top-scoring African in Europe’s top 10 leagues.
Paul Onuachu shots an average of 0.83 goals per game in club competitions and gave a total of 31 shots, of which 11 were shots on goal. He also completed 71 percent passes.
In recognition of his immense prolific season, the 26-year-old was named the Belgian Professional Footballer of the Year for 2020-21. He also claimed the top scorer award as his most productive season helped KRC Genk win the Belgian Cup and secure a European Champions League spot.
He has also been nominated for the Ebony Shoe, which is awarded to Belgium’s best African player or player of African descent, with the winner announced on 7 June.
Transfer rumors have it that Liverpool FC are among the clubs interested in the services of Paul Onuachu. The KRC Genk forward is tipped for a big-money move to a top club in the summer following his laudable performance this season. Other clubs linked to him are Sevilla.
Onuachu scored Nigeria’s fastest ever international goal against Egypt on his full debut In March 2019.
A €6 million arrival from Midtjylland in 2019, Onuachu has made a good name for himself in his first season in Belgium. We hope to see him perform better next season.
Clubside: Nantes FC
League: French Ligue 1
One of the best dribbler in the Super Eagles, Moses Daddy-Ajala Simon had a wonderful season in France. The attacker who plays for French clubside Nantes, was very instrumental to the survival of his clubside, which prevented them from direct relegation into the second tier of French football, as they finished 18th. They will be involved in a playoff battle against Toulouse and the winner will stay in Ligue 1 while the loser relegated into Ligue 2. We hope his team makes it to remain in Ligue 1.
Moses Simon made a total of 33 games, scoring 6 times and making 5 assists. He started 74% of games this season and was involved in 23% of the goals scored by his team.
Apart from his superb form on the pitch, the 25-year-old also has a heart for humanity. He financed the installation of a drainage system and the construction of the main road to help tackle flooding in his village, Obagaji Agatu, to halt the community’s age-long reliance on a stream for potable water.
William Troost Ekong
League: English Championship
William Ekong starred in his defensive role for the Hornets in their promotion to the Premier League. Eye brows were raised when he left Udinese for Watford in the Championship.
However, a string of consistent performance from him and his team mates helped in getting a promotion back to the Premier League. He made 32 appearances, scoring 1 goal.
League: Spanish La Liga 2
Umar Sadiq made his name with the Nigerian Olympic team in 2016, winning bronze with the Dream Team. Now 24-year-old, he is one of Nigeria’s best strikers in Europe this season having scored 28 goals and provided 9 assists for two clubs this season in 53 games across all competitions.
Sadiq had scored 6 goals and registered 2 assists for Partizan Belgrade before signing for UD Almeria in Spanish second tier.
At Almeria, he has been instrumental to the club’s promotion push with 18 league goals and 7 assists. In the Spanish cup, he scored 2 goals for his club.
He has been called up to the Super Eagles for their games against Cameroon next week.
Kevin John Ufuoma Akpoguma
League: German Bundesliga
The German born & bred Defender who plays as a centre back for Hoffenheim in the German Bundesliga, made a total of 22 Games in all competition. This includes games in the Europa League, DFB-Pokal and Bundesliga, churning 1goal and 1 assist.
Akpoguma played and starred for German youth teams before switching his allegiance to Nigeria in September 2020. The 26 year old who can also play at Right back and Left Back positions will be happy his club side will be featuring in the Bundesliga next season, after finishing 11th this season.
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