Napoli director Cristiano Giuntoli shrugged off the controversy surrounding Nigeria international Victor Osimhen’s late return to Italy following his involvement with the Super Eagles during the recent international break.
The striker was in action for Nigeria during the World Cup play-off against Ghana as the three-time African champions failed to secure their spot in the upcoming finals in Qatar.
The 23-year-old missed second-place Napoli’s 3-1 victory against Atalanta as they continue their quest to end their three decades wait to win the Serie A title.
The former Lille forward is the last of his Nigeria teammates to return to their respective clubs following the Qatar 2022 heartbreak and his absence raised eyebrows among the club fans.
As detailed by La Gazzetta dello Sport, Napoli wanted to verify Osimhen’s arrival in Naples on Saturday morning but that didn’t happen.
The club, however, confirmed the forward, who was suspended for the Atalanta game due to yellow cards accumulation, arrived back in Italy on Sunday morning.
Giuntoli, in a quote by football-italia.net, said the Nigerian arrived on schedule and would not be sanctioned by the club.
“We don’t understand why there is controversy around this, because he was given permission to take time off after international duty and he arrived on schedule,” Giuntoli told DAZN.
“He is an extraordinary lad, a great professional, so the question ought to be why these things emerge in the media. Of course, there won’t be a fine, he was given permission.”
Osimhen has been a key member of Luciano Spalletti’s squad, netting 11 goals in 20 Serie A appearances this season.