Victor Osimhen made history by finishing eighth on the Ballon d’Or ranking but a closer look suggests he could have done better and here is why.
Super Eagles and Napoli striker Victor Osimhen was voted the eighth-best player in the world according to the latest Ballon d’Or rankings.
Lionel Messi emerged as the expected winner in the event in Paris last night, October 30, 2023, but the rest of top 30 were also ranked and Osimhen was featured at number eight.
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This sparked celebrations as no Nigerian player before him had ever placed in the top 10, making this a historic milestone for the player, the country and the continent at large.
However, a closer look at the rankings of one to seven makes one wonder whether or not Osimhen should have finished higher and here are some reasons why.
Why Osimhen should have finished higher than 8th in Ballon d’Or
Osimhen should be 6, not 8
Victor Osimhen ranks at number eight but the two players immediately ahead of him, Julian Alvarez and Vinicius Jr are questionable choices.
There is a case to be made for both being better players than Osimhen, especially Vinicius but neither of them had a better 2022/23 season than the Nigerian and that is the period in consideration for this award.
The layman's argument would be to say Alvarez was part of a treble-winning Manchester City team and also won the World Cup with Argentina hence the justification.
However, Alvarez was not the first-choice striker in the 2022/23 season for both Manchester City and Argentina. He played 49 games in all competitions for Manchester City but only started 23 of those matches.
His first start at the World Cup did not come until the last game of the group stages which begs the question, how is a substitute considered better than the best striker in Serie A last season in a title-winning year?
Osimhen’s glorious league campaign
That is, Erling Haaland (36), Harry Kane (30), Kylian Mbappe (29) and Alexandre Lacazette (27) were the only players to score more league goals than Osimhen in European football last season.
Considering the fact that all four of those players played more league games than Osimhen last season, his exploits become more impressive.
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At the risk of speculation, it is hard to believe all of the seven players ranked ahead of him by France Football had this level of impact and performance the entire season.
With all of that said, this is still a great achievement for Osimhen as the highest-ranking African player ahead of Mohamed Salah in 11th and Moroccan goalkeeper, Yacine Bonnou in 13th.
He is also the highest-ranking player from Serie A, way ahead of teammate Kvicha Kvaratskhelia who is all the way down in 17th, perhaps putting an end to the Napoli civil way on who their bigger star is.
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Osimhen made Nigerians all over the world proud after his 8th place finish at the 2023 Ballon d'Or Awards presented by France Football.
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Nigeria's Victor Osimhen finished ahead of Egypt and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah in the Ballon d'Or rankings.