Napoli hope to move on from Victor Osimhen row as Real Madrid come to town

Striker upset by social media posts as Italian champions prepare for stellar Champions League showdown

Victor Osimhen of Napoli looks on during the Serie A match against Lecce. Getty
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Napoli host Real Madrid on Tuesday hoping the high-profile Champions League encounter will help move the agenda beyond the embarrassing and self-inflicted crisis which has unsettled their star striker Victor Osimhen.

The Nigerian international scored 26 goals last season as the Naples club ended their 33-year wait for a Serie A title but recently found himself the target of some ill-advised and mocking TikTok videos released by his own club.

So offended was the 24-year-old striker that his agent threatened legal action and the player removed all traces of him as a Napoli player from his Instagram account.

Napoli, who have made a somewhat patchy start to the defence of their league title, will then have been relieved when Osimhen declared his love for the club's supporters on social media as he seemingly sought to draw a line under the affair.

"Coming to the city of Naples in 2020 was a wonderful decision for me," said Osimhen on his Instagram account. "The people of Naples have shown me so much love and kindness, and I will not allow anyone to come between us.

"The passion of the people of Naples fuels my fire to always play with my heart and soul, and the love for the badge is unwavering as I wear it with pride.

"I have a lot of friends who are Neapolitans and have become part of my family and everyday life... Let's continue to spread unity, respect and understanding. Forza Napoli Sempre."

Despite the row, Osimhen played and scored in Napoli's wins over Udinese on Wednesday and Lecce on Saturday to take his tally to five goals in seven league games this season.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid will be without experienced defender David Alaba for the trip to Italy with the Austrian international still sidelined by a groin injury.

Madrid warmed up for the game with an impressive 3-0 win over Girona in La Liga at the weekend.

Elsewhere, Bayern Munich will look to make it two wins from two when they visit FC Copenhagen in Group A.

The Bavarians were somewhat fortunate to draw at Leipzig 2-2 in the Bundesliga on Saturday, while they endured a nervy finale against Manchester United in their Champions League opener a fortnight ago.

“We’ve problems against top teams at the moment,” Bayern midfielder Joshua Kimmich said after the draw in Leipzig. “We didn’t manage it against Leverkusen, now we haven’t managed it against Leipzig – and it was also erratic against Man United. We simply have problems performing consistently well over 90 minutes against top teams.”

Teammate Jamal Musiala agreed.

“It happens too often we need a little push and where we have phases in the game where we’re not doing what we want to do,” the Bayern midfielder said.

Coach Thomas Tuchel had previously complained about Bayern’s hot-and-cold approach, and he has seemed at a loss to explain why his team suffers from periods of poor play.

Bayern, however, are unbeaten in a competition record 35 group games - 32 wins and three draws - and have won 14 group games in a row, also a record.

Updated: October 02, 2023, 4:22 PM