As juicy as the round leather game of football is, yet its casualties is definitely one sad occurrence that still worries the mind and soul of every football-loving enthusiast because those casualties has indeed stolen a lot from African football and to some extent in Europe, perhaps isn’t that rampant compared to the kind of casualties Africa has experienced.
In the past few years, there have been a number of African players who have died while playing for their country or club as a professional footballer, perhaps the most high profile incidents is that of Cheick Tiote and Fabrice Muamba, who survived his own casualty by whisk and it’s still very fresh in our memories, however, there are still many casualties that involved African players who died on the pitch while doing what they know how to do best.
So in this piece, Cheapgoals look back in time to bring you African players who died on the pitch while playing or training for their country or club side.
Cheick Tiote – Ivory Coast/Beijing Enterprises
Tiote as a young footballer who really wants to achieve success was tutored at FC Bibo in his hometown of Yamoussoukro before he now moved to Anderlecht in Belgium and he made his professional debut in 2005 with Belgian side.
The Ivorian was well known at Newcastle for his exuberant play from the middle of the pack, Tiote joined the Magpies in 2010, for a fee of £3.5 million, after he was granted a work permit, and he made his debut against Everton at Goodison Park completing over 64 passes, two interceptions, and he also completed all five of his attempted tackles.
Although, Tioté did had stint in the Eredivise with JC Roda and FC Twente, however the best of the Ivorian was seen with the Magpies as he went on to become a favorite player among the Newcastle supporters, in 2017, Tioté joined China League One side Beijing Enterprises for an undisclosed fee when he left Newcastle, but unfortunately for the Ivorian, the marriage between him and his Chinese club didn’t last long as death snatched him away on the 5th June 2017 during a training session with his club after suffering a cardiac arrest
Moise Apanga – Gabon/FC 105 Libreville
The Ivory Coast-born and Gabonese footballer Apanga might not be as popular as Tiote was, but then one thing that surely made them well-known is death.
Apanga died on April 26, 2017, having suffered a heart attack while also training with his club side, a situation which looks similar to what happened to the Ivorian Cheick Tiote
Patrick Ekeng – Cameroon/Dinamo Bucuresti
The Cameroonian professional footballer who played as a defensive midfielder for Dinamo Bucuresti died on May 6, 2016, Ekang came on as a second-half substitute in a well-televised match against Viitorul Constanta.
Prior to the match, Ekeng had been fatigued that day and told his best friend that he did not want to play, and seven minutes after his entrance, with his team-leading 3-2, he collapsed on the pitch and was transported and resuscitated at the hospital, but unfortunately for Ekeng and Dinamo, he was confirmed dead by the medical staff.
After the death of Ekeng, an investigation was made by the Romanian interior ministry, due to reports of professional neglect which contributed to his death, and it was revealed that the ambulance used to convey Ekeng when he collapsed had faulty equipments and expired medicine, which led to the company license been suspended for 30 days and they were fined 23,800 Romanian lei, even the Doctor on ground to resuscitate Ekeng was charged with manslaughter for failing to revive the Cameroonian midfielder.
Idrissa Derme – Burkina Faso/CA Bastia
Derme started his football career in Burkina Faso before he went out of his country to join Sheriff Tiraspol where he had a breathtaking performance with the Moldovan outfit, he also had a stint with US Ouagadougou, USC Corte, CA Bastia, EF Bastia, and AJ Biguglia.
He only had three caps for his national team, between 2006 to 2010, unfortunately for Derme who perhaps could have played for his country if death hasn’t snatched him away from the hands of his loved one.
Dermé died on 11 September 2016 following a heart attack during the 2016-17 Coupe de France match
David Oniya – Nigeria/T-Team
Oniya wasn’t known for playing for the big clubs in the European scene, however, in mid-2007, he moved to Uzbekistan, where he signed a contract with Dinamo Samarqand and he played over four seasons with Dinamo Samarqand and went on to become the team captain.
In 2011, Bunyodkor signed Oniya but only spent a season with them, and he left Bunyodkor in 2012 before the start of the season he signed for Sogdiana Jizzakh for the first half of the year and then later joined Buxoro in the summer of 2012.
In early 2014, Oniya signed for Neftchi Fergana, but he couldn’t pass the medical examination and he wasn’t allowed to be registered by the Uzbekistan Football Federation, however that unpalatable event didn’t affect Oniya’s confidence as he went on to sign for T-Team.
Oniya gave up the ghost after collapsing on the pitch in Malaysia during a friendly match between his club T-Team and Kelantan as the trend of footballers’ death toll continued.
Emmanuel Ogoli – Nigeria/Ocean Boys
Only a few football enthusiasts and perhaps fans of Ocean Boys will know much about the former left-back, as his demise rocked the Ocean Boys management and the team at large.
Ogoli died in 2010 while playing for his team Ocean Boys, he collapsed on the pitch and was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Ogoli also had a stint with Bayelsa United when he was still alive, and his death in 2010 brought the question to the fore again that when would this death toll of players end?
Endurance Idahor – Nigeria/Al-Merreikh
Idahor was well-known in then NPL now NPFL for his scoring exploits with Julius Berger and with Dolphins FC in 2005, and in 2006 he left the NPL to the Sudanese league to join Al-Merrikh, but he was later sent out on loan to Al-Nasr for 7 months.
Following Idahor return to Sudan, he became a key player in the squad, and he went on to become the top scorer and led his team to their first Caf Confederation Cup final since 1989, the Nigerian forward also played for the U23 side.
On March 10, 2010, Idahor collapsed during a league match for his club and later died on his way to the hospital.
Bob Elejiko – Nigeria/K.Merksem SC
The unknown Nigerian played his football with relatively unknown club sides, Elejiko had played with FSV Wacker Nordhausen, KV Turnhout, KVC Westerlo, Royal Antwerp, Beira-Mar, Deinze, and Red Star Waasland.
Elejiko also had trials with Carl Zeiss Jena in Germany, also in England with Crewe Alexandra, Gillingham, and Roosendaal, but unfortunately for the Nigerian, he couldn’t convince all of the clubs to offer him a contract.
Elejiko collapsed while playing in a fifth tier match with his teammate against FC Kaart a team from Antwerp region, and on November 13, 2011, despite being resuscitated from the pitch side, he was pronounced dead and the cause of his death was said to be a traumatic rupture of the aorta.
Sekou Camara – Mali/Bandung Raya
The Malian who was nicknamed McCarthy also continued the death toll of African players who died while playing for their country or club side, Camara died of a heart attack while training for his club with his teammates in the Indonesian league on July 27, 2013.
Camara died at the age of 27, perhaps it hasn’t given up the ghost he could have turned out for the Malian national team at the Afcon.
Chaswa Nsofwa – Zambia/Hapoel Beer Sheva
Nsofwa got the chance to play for the Isreali side following his trial with them in 2007 when he scored two goals in two games during the Toto Cup, and that prolific performance led to the club offering him a contract.
His first match for the Isreali side was a successful outing, as he went on to score two goals replicating the kind of form he showed when he was under trial, and that superb performance got him much praises from the fans of the team
Nsofwa died on August 29, 2007, due to sudden heart failure during a match against Maccabi Beersheva aftermath of his death, his number six jersey was retired in the honor of the Zambian.
Henry Chinonso Ihelewere – Nigeria/Delta Tulcea FC
Ihelewere was just 21 years of age when he died while playing for his team in the Romanian league, the young Nigerian collapsed with no one around him after coming on as a second-half substitute in just 15 minutes of play.
The midfielder had been playing in Romania since 2007 after he collapsed he was taken to the hospital but he never regained consciousness.
Ihelewere who was described by his childhood friend Ogenyi Onazi and his former manager as a jovial player also had a stint with Plateau Riders before traveling to Europe to play for Delta Tulcea FC before his untimely death.
Marc-Vivien Foe – Cameroon/Lyon
The Cameroonian international footballer who played as a midfielder for both club and country had success in France and England’s Premier League before his sudden death during an international match which shocked the football community worldwide.
Aftermath of Foé’s death, his wife Marie-Louise stated that he had been ill with gastric problems and dysentery before his final match, but he was adamant to play the match against Colombia, even the manager of the Cameroonian team wanted to substitute him minutes before his collapse after observing that the player seemed fatigued, but he signaled that he wanted to continue
After Foe was confirmed dead, an autopsy was made in other to determine the exact cause of his death, however, they couldn’t find the cause of his death, but a second autopsy concluded that Foé’s death was heart-related as it discovered evidence of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Amir Angwe – Nigeria/Julius Berger
Julius Berger had reached the final of the African Cup Winners Cup on a Saturday when the unfortunate incident occurred, and the celebrations of the club faithful were cut short by the death of their forward.
The dogged forward Angwe, became the first casualty in the Nigeria League when he mysteriously passed out in a match involving his team at the Onikan Stadium on October 29, 1995.
The aftermath of his death, the officials of the team he played for claimed that the former BCC Lions goal scorer was as fit as a fiddle before he was picked to play the match.
Hadi Berkhissa – Tunisia/Esperance
The Tunisian defender was just 18 years old when he made his first appearance for Esperance, in a dream debut in 1991 against local rival Club Africain with the game ending in a draw.
In the subsequent derby, he scored his first league goal against Club Africain, as his team came on victorious with 2-0, before his death with the Tunis outfit, Berkhissa made over 98 league appearances for the club, scoring nine goals and he also made 13 appearances in the Tunisian Cup with 24 appearances to his name in the Caf Competition.
Berkhissa had a heart attack on the field of play in the last minutes of the game he was involved in between Esperance and Olympique Lyon of France on January 4, 1997.
Sam Okwaraji – Nigeria/SSV Ulm
Sam exploits at the AFCON in 1988 where he scored the fastest goal in the history of the competition against Cameroon it’s still very fresh in the mind of every football-loving Nigerian enthusiast.
Okwaraji’s death came as a shock to his teammates in then Green Eagles squad in August 12, 1989, when he collapsed ten minutes from the end of a 1990 World Cup qualifier against Angola at the National Stadium in Lagos, he died from possible complications of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy as an autopsy showed that the 25-year-old as at then had an enlarged heart and high blood pressure before the match.
Okwaraji was known to have a Masters in Law from the University of Rome, Italy, perhaps if not for his untimely death he could have gone on to be one of the best solicitors for young players who are just climbing up the ladder in the business of football.
7 Of The Most Loyal Football Players
When it comes to loyalty and commitment in the beautiful game, there are few football players who are able to pledge their allegiance and refused to be swayed by big offers. For every Ashley Cole, there’s also a Totti.
There are players who when they reach their potentials, will get easily swayed by money and the probable fame that will follow their transition to other clubs. While other players would simply remain at their current club because of the love they have for the club.
The first set of players who leave the club when bigger clubs come calling are always remembered for their exploits while at the club. But, the second type of football player who ignores the temptations of leaving their ‘most loved’ football club sides is regarded as heroes.
Meanwhile, there are some known players who have showcased utmost loyalty for their respective clubs. For instance, Francesco Totti waved off Real Madrid’s offer in 2006, stating AS Roma as his family and he’s never seen a situation where a child would leave his poor parents to go live with rich strangers.
But what about other unpopular loyal players like Francesco Totti, Stephen Gerrard or even Mark Noble?.
Here’s a list of 7 most loyal football players
- David Zibung (Goalkeeper) – FC Luzern (18 Years +)
The life of this Swiss goalkeeper has been all about his boyhood club, FC Luzern. The +37-year old was born in Hergiswil which is in the Nidwalden region in Switzerland.
He joined the youth team of FC Luzern in 1999 and was there till 2003. Zibung grew in leaps and bounds with the Luzern main team, ever since he broke into the first team, he’s never for once considered leaving the club.
Technically, Zibung would’ve spent eighteen years at Luzern by July 2021. But he’s definitely spent more than eighteen years given that he’s been at the club’s feeder team before 2003.
Zibung remains one of the oldest and longest-serving loyal goalkeepers of the Swiss League.
- Hidekazu Otani (Midfielder) – Kashiwa Reysol (18 Years)
Otani is a midfielder of note, who joined his one and only club in 2000 as a teenager. Now 36 years-old, Okami has been deployed in many parts of the midfield but his natural position is the defensive midfield where he plays comfortably well.
The Japanese veteran midfielder has on numerous occasions been offered to leave his club but his love for the Sun King club has held him back so much so that he’s willing to retire at the club when the time comes.
While some quarters may believe that Hidekazu Okani had been at Kashiwa for eighteen years, the fans of the club see him as an integral part of the club’s history given that he’s won laurels with the club severally.
- Igor Akinfeev (Goalkeeper) – CSKA Moscow (18 Years)
Akinfeev is probably the most popular player we’re x-raying in this Exposé. Akinfeev, Russian, is the Russian National Team goalkeeper and captain, as well as his club side, CSKA Moscow.
History has it that the 34-year old shot-stopper has been at CSKA Moscow since the age of four. His father sent him to the Sports School of CSKA where he began his goalkeeping career and won the Russian Junior Championship in 2002 with the CSKA Moscow team.
Akinfeev would make his debut for CSKA Moscow at sixteen, precisely 2001 where he saved a penalty and also had a clean sheet. He has played over five hundred matches for CSKA Moscow, winning six Russian Cup titles, six Russian Premier League titles as well as the 2005 UEFA Cup with the club.
His incredible rise to stardom is down to his personality and ingenuity as a goalkeeper. He’s arguably the best goalkeeper the Russian nation has ever produced and has been on several international tournaments for the country since he joined the national team.
It may sound bizarre but Akinfeev has spent thirty years at the Red-blues. That is a huge commitment mixed with loyalty.
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- Ismed Sofyan (Defender) – Persita Jakarta (18 Years)
Talking about the most loyal player, Sofyan’s loyalty isn’t about his club alone, it’s for his country and his country’s elite league, The Indonesian Super League – Not that he’s an amateur.
Yes, he may have played for a couple of club sides in the Indonesian league, but his love and unwavering support for his country is immeasurable.
Sofyan currently plays for Persita Jakarta, a club he joined in 2002 that has made him become the longest-serving player in the club until now. The 41year-old right full-back is a free-kick specialist. He was only privileged to play for the Indonesian National Team for just 53 times.
- Dean Lewington (Defender) – Milton Keynes Dons FC (18 Years)
As of July 2020, Lewinton is the longest-serving player for a single club in English League having spent sixteen years with The Dons.
The English left-back joined MK Dons after a successful spell with Wimbledon in 2004. Lewington, 32, has made over seven hundred appearances with more than 250 different team-mates.
He’s witnessed two promotions and relegations as the club’s captain for the years he’s been at MK Dons and he’s grateful for the sort of longevity he’s had.
He told daily mail in 2016 ‘It’s not like the Premier League where you get five-year deals. It is one or two years. When we won promotion to the Championship in 2015, I was out of contract on the final day as we were celebrating.’
- Koji Homa (Goalkeeper) – Mito HollyHock (21 Years)
Undoubtedly a popular figure in the Japanese league, the 43-year-old goalkeeper currently plays for the above-named club in the second tier of the Japanese League, J2.
After graduating from high school, he joined the J1 League side Urawa Reds in 1996 but couldn’t play more often before crossing to Mito HollyHock in 1999 and never looked back.
He’s helped Mito HollyHock achieve some amazing feats since he joined in 1999 with the biggest of them being the promotion of the club to J2 in 2000.
In his twenty-one-year sojourn with the club, Koji Homma holds the record for the player with the highest number of matches played in J2.
- Lee Casciaro (Forward) – Lincoln Red Imps (22 Years)
The 38-year-old Gibraltar striker scored the only goal of the game when his Gibraltarian minnows club (Lincoln Red Imps) shocked Celtic and to a larger extent, the rest of Europe in their Champions League qualifier at the Victoria Stadium in 2016,
Cascario, 39, has been at the club since he was eight years old and has spent twenty-three years as a first-team member.
It should be agreed that Lincoln Red Imps was made for Cascario, given that two of his younger brothers have played for the club as well.
With three international goals, Lee Henry Cascario is currently Gibraltar’s all-time goalscorer since the 33,684 populated nation joined UEFA.
- Iker Muniain (Athletic Bilbao): 11 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Tarantini (Rio Ave): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Stefan Radu (Lazio): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Vincent Manceau (Angers SCO): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Anthony Lopes (Lyon): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Koke (Atletico Madrid): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Roberto Torres (Osasuna): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Gerard Pique (Barcelona): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow): 12 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Mario Gaspar Perez (Villarreal): 12 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Guilherme (Lokomotiv Moscow): 13 years, 1 month, 3 days
- Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur): 13 years, 1 month, 10 days
- Volodymyr Chesnakov (Vorskla Poltava): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Mahmut Tekdemir (Istanbul Basaksehir): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Sergio Busquets (Barcelona): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk): 13 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Anton Shunin (Dynamo Moscow): 13 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Marcelo (Real Madrid): 13 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Sammy Bossut (Zulte Waregem): 14 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid): 15 years, 4 days
- Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Francesco Magnanelli (Sassuolo): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Jessy Moulin (Saint-Etienne): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Oier (Osasuna): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Sergio Alvarez (Celta de Vigo): 16 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Mark Noble (West Ham United): 16 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Lionel Messi: (Barcelona): 16 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Denis Sinyayev(FC Avangard Kursk)18 years
- Ismaeil Matar (Al-Wahda): 19 years
- Petr Literak(Frýdek-Místek): 22 years
Erling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking Rise
Erling Haaland was always going to become the ultimate striker and probably the best number 9 on the planet. Also, there’s every possibility that one day, he may become a Ballon D’or winner. But, there’s still one mystery, how did he become the cyborg that he is today?
Haaland continues to be a goal machine, becoming the quickest player in history to reach 20 Champions League goals. His goal from the spot in the UCL round-16 second leg tie against Sevilla was his 20th goal in just 14 appearances in the competition, which broke Harry Kane’s previous record of 24 games.
“Of course he’s fast, powerful, good around the goal and he’s got real soccer sense. But it’s more of his energy, it’s his infectious personality that I think is like a magnet; it draws people to him, it makes people want to be around him.” Those are the words of Red Bull Salzburg manager, Jesse Marsch.
Grab a handful of popcorn and sit back as we unfold the story behind the rise of this Norwegian beast, goal machine, and keeper’s nightmare, Erling Braut Haaland.
Haaland’s Salzburg Breakthrough
As at when Jesse Marsch was appointed as Salzburg manager, Haaland had been at the club for about six months and had only played one game. And then he went to the U-20 World Cup where he scored nine goals in one game.
From his Salzburg debut, Haaland, who had already impressed at the Norwegian league with Bryne and Molde left observers with no doubt about the quality he possesses.
He would become one of the best strikers on the planet because the talent in him was very obvious. In a chat with oh-my-goal, Jesse Marsch revealed that Haaland’s personality was the first thing he fell in love with about Haaland.
“The first couple of days I worked with him, what impressed me more than anything else was his personality on the pitch. He was just relentless! He worked harder than anyone.”
But beyond his raw talent in Salzburg, Erling Haaland left his mark on the locker room with his personality. He had a smile on his face and got along incredibly well with his teammates. Therefore, it wasn’t just his talent, it was his overall energy.
Erling in person had a really positive influence on his teammates. Erling the player, was a selfish assassin who scored 29 goals in 27 appearances for the Austrian club.
Meanwhile, he also always talked about making his teammates happy. “The best memory I Had of him was when we were getting penalties in just about every game, and he was giving them to all the other attacking players.“
“And then, after a player missed a penalty, I said Ok, Erling has to take the penalties and I told him he would be taking the penalties”
“It’s incredible to have such a talented player who loves to score goals, be the one that is giving the penalty responsibilities to the others because he wants them to feel the power of success, the power of scoring goals, and the power of confidence. That says a lot to me about the character of Erling.” Marsch revealed.
At 19, when most people think about personal glory, Haaland was already a perfect teammate and a future leader which was unprecedented for a player as good as he was and in his age range.
Without a doubt, Haaland’s personality was great enthusiastic and it did really have a big effect on a lot of people at Salzburg.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Influence
Erling Haaland may owe his incredible rise to his immense talent and his positive leadership qualities. But that’s not all, Cristiano Ronaldo also played a huge role in Haaland’s evolution.
People often say that Erling Haaland is the next Cristiano Ronaldo but is the CR7 comparison justified?
Certainly, Erling is more of a pure striker than Cristiano but from a power football perspective, his ability in the transition to affect games like the Portuguese ace makes the comparison justifiable.
Haaland himself admitted that Cristiano Ronaldo was his role model but if like Cristiano, Erling broke all the goalscoring records, it’s not really the part of football that CR7 has influenced.
Haaland is following in Cristiano Ronaldo’s footsteps in terms of leadership and he even is now a role model to many players just like Ronaldo was to him.
Cristiano Ronaldo has had positive effects on his teammates and in every team, he’s played in which really helped him overtime right from his days at Manchester United and Real Madrid. But for Erling, one could really see that right from his young age that it’s a natural quality he has.
It will be up to Haaland to continue to modify that aspect of himself and mold that in a way that he can become a really strong leader within his teams as he continues to grow older.
Above all, Haaland took inspiration from Cristiano Ronaldo in one essential area, work ethic. Like CR7, he’s always hungry to improve. “He really worked hard a lot. After training, he would stick around to finish, to hit some crosses, to work on his heading.” – Jesse Marsch, RB Salzburg Coach.
Like CR7, Erling Haaland thinks every little detail counts. He would wear special glasses because he felt like when you look at your computer all day long or your cell phone, that your eyes would start to fade and so he had that special glasses he always wears.
And while he has his own personality, Erling is directly inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo especially when it comes to nutrition and work ethic by picking the most hardworking professional football player in history as his role model.
Perfect With BVB
Borussia Dortmund activated his €20 million (£17m/$22m) release clause, beating United and Leipzig to his signature after all three clubs held meetings with the player, his father, and agent Mino Raiola.
Borussia Dortmund already had forward Paco Alcacer on the books, but saw Haaland as such a generational talent, that they were willing to offload the Spain international to give the Norwegian teen an even better chance of success.
CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke says that they had been looking for someone with Haaland’s particular skill set for a long time and could not pass up the opportunity to sign him.
“We always wanted to have a center-forward who has a different way of playing football,” Watzke told Goal and DAZN. “But this guy also had to come onto the market first.
There are not many who are 1.94 meters (6 ft 4 in) tall and that fast. Actually, nobody else comes to mind. It was just an opportunity that you don’t get very often. – Goal.com
Dortmund offered the striker the best chance of regular game time as they promised to make him their first-choice striker, something Alf-Inge Haaland admits is crucial to his development.
Haaland’s Dortmund story got off to the perfect start with the most incredible debut against Augsburg. Trailing 3-1, Lucien Favre sent on the teenager from the bench and was rewarded with a 22-minute hat-trick to help secure a 5-3 win.
Having revealed all the secrets that make Haaland an outstanding striker, in all honesty, the Norwegian striker has no limit because he keeps getting better at Dortmund.
He was incredible at Salzburg. “We were obviously so sad to lose him so quickly because we had a lot of fun and success with him, but we’re also very proud of him and we’re really excited to see him continue to push himself and move forward and show everybody in the world how good he is.”
And today, he’s showing just how good he is in Germany. He used to only be seen as a superpowered and superfast goalscorer. But at Dortmund? He’s also shown his technical advances and his in-game intelligence and influence.
He’s more and more capable of keeping the ball, playing in different positions, taking part in the game, in short, he’s become the ultimate striker.
Giving his unique skill-set and amazing personality, he will definitely sign for a bigger club in years to come. Yes, he may experience some difficulties, but his quality will help him manage whatever challenge that comes his way and in-turn become the best number 9 of not only his generation but in football history.