London, United Kingdom | AFP |
Five things about Nigerian international Ahmed Musa after English Premier League champions Leicester City signed him from CSKA Moscow for a club record fee of £16.6 million ($22 million, 20 million euros) on Friday:
Congratulations to Ahmed Musa on his move to English Champions Leicester City. Paint the EPL green with goals. pic.twitter.com/y655tKCp2i
— Nigeria Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) July 8, 2016
Nigerian World Cup history maker
He announced himself to the wider world with a superb brace against Lionel Messi’s Argentina in a group match at the 2014 World Cup which Nigeria lost 3-2. One was especially memorable, with Musa cutting in from the left and unleashing a superb curling effort beyond Sergio Romero into the far corner. It was the first time a Nigerian had scored a double in a World Cup finals match.
Musa is an Arsenal fan, thanks to watching them when Nigerian striking great Nwankwo Kanu was playing for them. However, when the Gunners came knocking on his Dutch club VVV Venlo’s door in 2012 it was too late as CSKA had nipped in and had their 5 million-euro offer accepted. Venlo had spotted his talent early on and signed him as a 17-year-old, although they were made to wait until he was 18 to take him on.
Mature beyond his years
Prior to his World Cup starring role he had already been blooded in a major tournament having been part of the ‘Super Eagles’ squad that won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013, coming on as a substitute in the final against surprise packages Burkina Faso. He’d already shone for the Under-20 side, scoring three goals in five games for them at the 2011 World Championships. That came a year after he had won his first cap for the senior national side who were then coached by Lars Lagerback, who led Iceland to the Euro 2016 quarter-finals.
To much surprise he was appointed Nigeria captain in 2015 by then coach Sunday Oliseh in preference to the vastly more experienced Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel after the retirement of goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama. However, when Oliseh left the post, Musa handed over the captaincy to Mikel, who had made his debut some five years before him. “There was a mix-up,” said Musa, who added Mikel was his ‘big brother’. Mikel responded by praising Musa: “It takes a man to come out and do what Ahmed Musa has done today.”
Ahmed Musa: “They are like a family. That’s why I joined #lcfc and I’m very excited.”
— Leicester City (@LCFC) July 8, 2016
Foxes get their prey at second time of asking
Musa was targeted by Leicester earlier this year, but the Foxes stalled at the £20 million asking price during the January transfer window. Despite the knock-back both parties were rewarded as the Russian side won their national title. Leicester didn’t have to wonder what might have been had he joined then as they progressed serenely to their own league championship. All’s well that ends well as they now have their man.