If striker Victor Osimhen manages to lead Napoli to their first Italian Serie A title in more than 30 years, he believes he will become a club “icon”.
However, the 24-year-old Nigerian said he would not be able to reach the status of late Argentine great Diego Maradona, whom he called a “demi-god”.
Maradona remains Naples’ biggest football hero.
He led the local team to their only two league titles in 1987 and 1990, and their stadium is named after him.
“I don’t consider myself as an icon yet, until I achieve the objective which the club has set itself for this season,” Osimhen said while picking up an award in Rome.
However, if Napoli win the scudetto, he said: “I think (I) have a very big chance of being named an icon.”
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But, he added, “it wouldn’t compare to what Maradona has done for this club.”
With 13 games to go, Napoli are odds-on for Serie A glory, having a huge, 15-point advantage over second-placed Inter Milan.
Winning would be a huge lift for the city in Italy’s poorer south, where fans are passionate about the club.
Some street hawkers are already selling mementoes in Napoli colours and with a “three” on them in anticipation of a third title.
Shops are also selling cakes and Easter eggs decorated with Osimhen’s trademark face mask, which he wears on the pitch following a face injury.
“It’s been 33 years since the last scudetto,” Napoli Chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis said.
“Another title could make the city go crazy, I think it is already going crazy and planning (a party) which could involve two or three million people,” De Laurentiis said.
Osimhen, who is in his third season at Napoli after previous stints in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg and in Ligue 1 with Lille, is Serie A’s top scorer this season with 19 goals.
In Rome, where he was given a prize by the Foreign Press Association, he hinted at future move to England’s Premier League.
“I’m working so hard to make sure that I achieve my dream of playing of course in the Premier League some day,” he said, adding that for the moment he was focused on the Serie A.(Reuters/NAN)