The Rise of Chukwueze: Is this Nigeria’s next superstar?

Samuel Chukwueze . [PHOTO CREDIT: @LaLigaEn]
Samuel Chukwueze [PHOTO CREDIT: @LaLigaEn]

Samuel Chukwueze left the Estadio de la Ceramica pitch on April 21 to thunderous applause from fans of Villareal FC. The 19-year-old fully merited the adulation from the fans as the Yellow Submarine took a giant step to retain their La Liga status for next season with a 2-1 win over Levante.

As Chukwueze made his way to the sideline, his compatriot, Kenneth Omeruo, gently shoved him and a smile broke across his lips.

Maybe he was thinking what a season he has had. Because Chukwueze has risen from a ‘nobody’ status to winning the Nigerian Young Player award for 2018.

To put his giant steps in perspective, Chukwueze has scored as many goals as Philippe Coutinho in La Liga – five, but his goals have won more points for relegation-threatened Villarreal than the Brazilian’s goals have done for title-chasing Barcelona.

If the Yellow Submarine stay afloat in La Liga for the 2018/19 season, a lot of the credit will go to the left-footed dazzler, who continues to justify the hype surrounding his talent. In the five La Liga matches in which he scored his five goals, Villarreal have not lost and have won 12 points.

Girona               0 – 1      Villarreal            3 points

Villarreal            4 – 4      Barcelona           1 point

Levante              0 – 2      Villarreal            3 points

Villarreal            2 – 1      Real Betis          3 points

Rayo Vallecano   2 – 2      Villarreal            1 point

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The highlights of the La Liga match on Tuesday, April 2 between Villarreal and Barcelona was a show-reel of Samuel Chukwueze’s talent. If you didn’t understand the hype – now you know.

Stats Number
Passes Completed 242
Chances Created 15
Total Crosses 2
Assists 2
Take-On Success 28
Dispossessed 24
Yellow Cards 0
Red Cards 0
Shots on Target 15
Shots off Target 11
Goals Scored 4
Minutes Played 1698
Matches Played 29

 

The 19-year-old Nigerian can be described as the one potent catalyst for the Yellow Submarine to almost clear the surface of Barcelona’s early domination with a goal, an assist and shots on target that Andre Ter-Stegen, in goal for Barcelona, did well to keep out.

Chukwueze showed the entire world the talent that has made Villarreal declare that his sale would be for 63 million Euros – no less! News about the lad revealed that Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, and Leicester City are all casting furtive glances at the youngster

“I’m very motivated and inspired by this because it is unbelievable. Everything happening still seems like a dream,” he told the BBC.

The plaudits have rolled in like a drum for the Super Eagle with a single cap. The commentator for the win over Levante said, “Listen to that. He is already an idol in these parts – this 19-year-old…

David Cartlidge wrote on Twitter, “Even by his standards this season, this has been sensational from Chukwueze tonight. It’s his first season in LaLiga, not even made 20 appearances yet. The comparisons to Robben are completely understandable. The cut/shift to the left and dribbling at speed are both there. Chukwueze still very raw…but what a future he has.”

Another Tweet, this time from Kevin Egan read, “Samuel Chukwueze is an absolute star. The Nigerian teenager has Villarreal back in it against Barca. Can’t imagine he’ll be at the yellow submarines next season. Top class.”

However, it is analysed, it has been a breakout season for the impulsive and left-footed winger with 11 goals and four assists in 43 appearances for Villarreal in La Liga, Copa del Rey, Europa League and for the second team in Segunda Division B.

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