Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen has shared his thoughts on being overlooked for Lionel Messi by the Nigerian representative during the 2023 Ballon d’Or voting.
The 24-year-old clinched the 8th spot, making history as the first Nigerian in the top ten, breaking Nwankwo Kanu’s 11th position record in 1997.
Despite spearheading Napoli’s first Serie A success in 33 years last season scoring 26 league goals, Italian voting representative and African representatives did not deem him worthy enough to be number one.
Osimhen garnered 24 points, but the Nigerian journalist who voted put him in fourth place behind Messi, Haaland, and Mbappe.
However, in a recent podcast interview the Napoli striker insisted that everyone is entitled to their right to vote and no one can downplayed his impact by ignoring patriotism and voting for an outsider.
“For real, I just saw what you said today. One of my friends showed it to me,” he said on Obi One Podcast by Mikel Obi.
“But, I feel like, for me, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. This is what I always believe.
“No one can deny the effort that I put in last season. No one can try to downplay my performance last season.
“At the end of the day, I came eighth. [And] even if I came tenth or eleventh, I think I have done so much for myself to get the recognition I am having, or the one I will continue to have.
“So, for me, it doesn’t really change anything, they can vote for who they like, it’s all love. From my own side.
“I really don’t put these things into consideration because I focus on people who love me wholeheartedly, the ones who support me, the ones who defend me, and everything like that. My family, my friends.
“These [love and support] are the things that really matter to me. Not the ones that try to downplay everything that I have worked on, the season that I had, and try to put the credit to another man. So, for me, it’s normal.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion. So it doesn’t change anything. I came out eighth, I am proud of myself.”