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Napoli’s Osimhen in low ebb, doubtful for Champions League clash with Barcelona

Napoli faces uncertainty over the availability of Victor Osimhen as they prepare to host Barcelona in the Champions League last 16, following the striker’s absence in their last-gasp 1-1 home draw with Genoa in Serie A due to fatigue.

Osimhen’s return to Napoli from the Africa Cup of Nations, where Nigeria reached the final, has raised concerns about his fitness levels. Coach Walter Mazzarri expressed apprehension, stating, “According to him and the doctors, the boy is at his lowest.”

Mazzarri explained the cautious approach taken with Osimhen, highlighting the risks associated with his recent participation in the continental tournament. “Coming back from the African Cup of Nations it wouldn’t have been the best choice to risk it and let him play for a quarter of an hour to 20 minutes, so the doctor told me,” Mazzarri added.

The toll of the Africa Cup of Nations was evident on Osimhen, who encountered stomach pains before the semi-final against South Africa and received clearance to play just a day before the match. Despite the challenges, Osimhen’s contributions were pivotal as Nigeria secured a spot in the final.


“Today he had an anti-fatigue training, tomorrow he will train. We hope to have him ready for Barcelona (but) his presence will not be certain,” Mazzarri remarked, acknowledging the uncertainty surrounding Osimhen’s availability.

Mazzarri reflected on the ongoing challenges with Osimhen’s fitness, emphasizing the need for gradual recovery following previous injuries and the demands of international duty. “Since I arrived I’ve never had him. He was injured, I had to recover him gradually. Then there was the Africa Cup of Nations,” Mazzarri stated.

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