Returning Chukwueze gets Milan ovation

Samuel Chukwueze received a hero’s welcome from AC Milan players and coaches on Wednesday on his return from the AFCON, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

Chukwueze departed Milan for international duty January 2 after playing against Cagliari in the Coppa Italia.

The 24-year-old featured in five of Nigeria’s seven games as the three-time winners reached the final of the continental championship for the first time in 11 years.

Despite sharing his minutes on the right of the attack with Moses Simon, the former Villarreal man surprisingly started ahead of the Nantes forward in the final.

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The Super Eagles lost to Ivory Coast in the final but his efforts were still applauded by his teammates and staff upon his return to Milanello Wednesday morning.

In a video posted on the club X handle, Chukwueze was welcomed with an appreciative applause, with Portuguese superstar Rafael Leao particularly pleased to receive his Nigerian teammate.

Leao ran up to hug Chukwueze before others joined in welcoming the Eagles winger back from Africa.

After claiming a bronze medal at the 2019 AFCON in Egypt, Chukwueze will be pleased to add a silver medal to his trophy cabinet despite the disappointment of losing the trophy to Ivory Coast.

On Tuesday, Chukwueze and other members of the squad, as well as coaches and other officials, were awarded one of the highest honours in the country – Member of the Order of The Niger – by President Bola Tinubu.

Milan host French side Rennes in the UEFA Europa League knockout round on Thursday (today) but Stefano Pioli has ruled the Nigerian out of the fixture.

“Making choices and excluding players is always difficult but it’s also true that I know that I have players coming off the bench who can change a game, “ he told AC Milan’s official website.

“Chukwueze is back with us now; he won’t be in the squad tomorrow (today) but I hope he’s available for Monza.”

<<Punch>>