By Adedapo Adesanya
The two best footballers in the world, Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus will again meet face-to-face for the first time since 2018 in the group stage of this season’s Champion League organised by the Union of European Football Association (UEFA).
The respective clubs of the two players have been put under the same group in the draws held on Thursday. The duo will be expected to give fans something to savour again after Ronaldo left Real Madrid in Spain to join his new Italian outfit.
Speaking of spectators at the stadiums, UEFA has said it will allow the partial return of fans for UEFA matches where local laws permit, starting from next week’s national team matches.
This followed the successful test match between Bayern Munich and Sevilla (the UEFA Super Cup) in Budapest, Hungary on 24 September.
Business Post understands that the number of spectators will be capped at a maximum of 30 per cent of the respective stadium capacity and away supporters will not be allowed into the games until further notice.
Both the admission of fans and the capacity limit are subject to the decision of local authorities. UEFA matches cannot be played with spectators where local authorities do not allow it and the limit of 30 per cent may be reached only where the limit set by local authorities is not lower, in which case such limit would apply.
Social distancing will be mandatory for spectators and additional precautionary measures, such as the wearing of masks must be implemented in accordance with local regulations.
These measures form part of the ‘UEFA Minimum Health and Hygiene Requirements for the Return of Spectators‘ which were approved by the UEFA Executive Committee and which match organisers will have to respect. However, the exact health and safety measures that must be adopted must be based on the local situation and on specific laws and regulations imposed by competent local authorities.
The UEFA Super Cup demonstrated that it is possible for fans to attend football matches in the right circumstances by putting their health and safety first with comprehensive mitigating measures in place. The match also demonstrated the acceptance of fans for precautionary sanitary measures and their readiness to follow them and behave accordingly.
Commenting on the decision, UEFA President, Mr Aleksander Čeferin, said: “Today’s decision is a sensible first step which puts fans’ health first and respects the laws in each country. While we all face a common enemy in COVID, different countries have different approaches and different challenges at any given moment. This decision allows much more local flexibility to deal with admitting fans than was previously the case, always respecting the assessment of local authorities.
“27 countries on the continent already allow fans to some extent. This decision will allow for a coherent approach on a country-by-country basis and not on a competition-by-competition basis which was sometimes difficult to understand for fans.
“In these difficult times, it is important to bring more hope and passion back into the lives of football fans and we urge them to behave appropriately and respect sanitary measures in place for their own health and for the health of their fellow club or national team supporters,” he noted.
At the UEFA Champions League draws held today, the following teams were put in eight groups:
Group A – Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Salzburg, Lokomotiv Moscow.
Group B – Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter Milan, Borussia Mnchengladbach.
Group C – Porto, Manchester City, Olympiakos, Marseille.
Group D – Liverpool, Ajax, Atalanta, Midtjylland.
Group E – Sevilla, Chelsea, Krasnodar, Rennes.
Group F – Zenit St. Petersburg, Borussia Dortmund, Lazio, Club Brugge.
Group G – Juventus, Barcelona, Dynamo Kyiv, Ferencvros.
Group H – Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, RB Leipzig, Istanbul Baakehir.
During the draws, awards were given and the best defenders of the men’s and women’s Champions League were – Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich and Lyon’s Wendie Renard.
The best midfielders of the men’s and women’s Champions League were – Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Lyon’s Dzsenifer Marozsan.
The best forward of the men’s and women’s Champions League were – Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and Wolfsburg’s Pernille Harder (she now plays for Chelsea). Also, the UEFA men’s and women’s player of the year went to both footballers.
The best manager of the men’s and women’s Champions League were – Bayern Munich’s Hansi Flick and Lyon’s Jean-Luc Vasseur.
In the face of travel restrictions, UEFA has noted that it will allow matches on neutral territory. If a club suffers a Covid-19 outbreak, a game can go ahead as long as each team has at least 13 fit players including one goalkeeper.
The group stage starts on October 20, more than a month later than usual, and all six rounds of games will be packed into eight weeks.
However, in the event of more delays, UEFA has set January 28 as the deadline to complete the group stage.
CAF Launches African Super League
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has officially launched African Super League, a continental variant of the much contested European Super League, to change the perspective and tap the potential of the game on the continent.
President of CAF, Mr Patrice Motsepe, announced the development at the 44th CAF Ordinary General Assembly held in Tanzania on Wednesday.
The project has been in the works since it was recommended by Mr Gianni Infantino, FIFA president, in 2020.
CAF announced that the African Super League will be operated on a budget of $200 million and will kick off in August 2023.
Half of the budget will be split between the 24 participating clubs, with each team guaranteed a minimum of $2.5 million and the winner gets $11.6 million.
The money is over five times the $2.5 million awarded to the winners of the CAF Champions League.
Mr Motsepe said, “We are excited about the CAF Africa Super League and are confident that it will change the face and competitiveness of CAF and African football.
“The CAF Executive Committee (EXCO) took a decision to launch the CAF Africa Super League in August 2022. This League will officially kick off in August 2023.
“We announced on 3 July 2022 that the total prize money of the CAF Africa Super League will be $100 million, with the winner receiving $11.5 million.”
He also explained that, “We intend paying each Member Association $1 million per annum from the CAF Africa Super League funds.
“We also intend allocating $50 million to CAF from these funds for Youth and Women’s football development and for all its other competitions to ensure that they are globally competitive.”
CAF as part of its new development announced some changes including the increment of the total prize money for the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League from $12.5 million to $17.6 million, and the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup from $6.375 million to $9.9 million.
Mr Motsepe also announced the increase in the total prize money for the TotalEnergies AFCON Cameroon 2021 from $24.8 million to $26.650 million.
The total prize money for the TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) Morocco 2022 was increased from $975,000 to $2.4 million, which is an increase of 150 per cent.
The TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League, which did not have any prize money, saw the value of $1.550 million introduced.
CAF has also expressed its commitment to increasing its investment in TV and content to improve and enhance the quality of watching CAF matches on TV and streaming platforms.
Highest Paid Nigerian Footballer – How Much Do Nigerian Footballers Earn
Highest-Paid footballer from Nigeria
The phrase “Naija no dey carry last” has been evident in football recently as there has been an influx of Nigerian footballers playing abroad. Football is the most popular sport in Nigeria with millions of fans supporting their clubs abroad. Nigeria has always been a home of incredible football talents and with more amazing young footballers showing in recent years, the weekly wages of Nigerian footballers has been on a rise.
The huge wages being paid to Nigerian footballers isn’t a surprise as the impact of the players is evident in those teams. Aside from the high wages they earn, Naija footballers are being traded for a huge amount of money. In the summer of 2020, Victor Oshimen became the most expensive African footballer of all time as he joined Napoli from Lille for about $80 million-plus add-on. Hardly any top European league without a Nigerian footballer performing at a high level and earning huge wages. A good sign for the Super Eagles as the national squad is now full of top talents.
We have decided to go on an adventure to reveal the highest-paid footballers from Nigeria, who are also featured in the best football predictions bettors will find on Takebet Nigeria. We have searched all leagues where Nigerian players compete, from European leagues such as English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, Bundesliga to other top leagues.
Let’s dig into the list of the highest-paid footballers from Nigeria.
Odion Ighalo – Striker, Al-Hilal – $170,000 (last know)
Odion Ighalo is one of the most popular Nigerian players. The striker became the first Nigerian international to play for Manchester United after he joined the club on loan from the Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua in January 2020. Odion Ighalo scored five goals in 23 appearances before returning to Shanghai Shenhua at the end of his loan.
The Nigerian international joined Saudi Arabia’s Al Shabab from the Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua in 2021. Ighalo scored 10 league goals in 19 appearances for Shanghai Shenhua. Odion made his debut in 2005 and moved to Europe in 2008 where he joined Udinese. The Nigerian international joined Watford during the 2014-15 and scored 36 league goals in 90 appearances for the club.
Odion Ighalo represented the Super Eagles during the 2018 World Cup. The Nigerian international holds the record for the most goals scored during a single Africa Cup of Nations with seven goals in 2019.
Ighalo earned $170,000 per week in Al Shabab. Odion Ighalo joins Al-Hilal, another Saudi football club, after the AFCON 2021. His salary in the new club is currently unknown, but the striker is sure to keep his #1 spot.
Victor Osimhen – Striker, Napoli – $110,000
Victor Osimhen is currently one of the best strikers in Europe. The Nigerian international has been amazing for Napoli this season after a slow start to life in the Italian Club. Victor Osimhen became the most expensive Africa striker in history after he joined Napoli from Lille for a fee of about $80 million in the winter transfer of 2020.
The Napoli striker has scored 19 goals in 45 appearances for the Italian side. Osimhen had an incredible rise to glory as he wasn’t able to join either Zulte Waregem or Club Brugge in his early days due to Malaria. Victor was in Nigeria’s under-17 team that won the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup. The Nigerian international won the Golden Boot in the tournament with 10 goals. He also won the Silver Ball award during the tournament.
Osimhen missed out on the 2018 World Cup squad. He made his debut for the national team in 2017. The Nigerian international made the squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and has been brilliant since then. He has scored 10 goals in 18 appearances for the national team.
Victor currently plays in Napoli and he earns $110,000 per week.
Wilfred Ndidi – Midfielder, Leicester City – $100,000
Wilfred Ndidi is currently one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. The Nigerian international has been incredible since he joined Leicester City from Genk in the winter transfer of 2017 for $20m. Ndidi has scored 10 goals in 196 appearances since he joined the club.
The Nigerian international won the most tackles in the Premier League (138) during the 2017-18 season. He also won the most tackles in the league in the following season of 2018-19. Wilfred Ndidi was an important player of the squad that won the 2020-21 FA Cup as they defeated Chelsea by a goal to nil.
Ndidi represented Nigeria during the 2016 Summer Olympics. He made the squad for the 2018 World Cup as they were knocked out in the group stage. Ndidi also represented the Super Eagles in the 2019 and 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. He has 47 caps for the Nigerian national team.
Wilfred Ndidi currently plays for Leicester City and earns $100,000 per week.
Kelechi Iheanacho – Striker, Leicester City – $80,000
Seniorman Kelz as he is widely regarded came into the limelight after an impressive outing during the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup. The Nigerian international won the Golden Ball award as the Super Eagles won the tournament. Iheanacho scored six goals during the competition as he won the Silver Boot.
Kelechi Iheanacho joined Manchester City in 2015. Iheanacho scored 21 goals in 64 appearances for Manchester City as he won the English Football League Cup. The Nigerian international joined Leicester City for a fee of about $30 million in the summer of 2017. Iheanacho was brilliant during the 2020-21 season as he scored 12 goals in the Premier League, overperforming his expected goals of 8.20.
Iheanacho represented Nigeria during the 2018 World Cup. The Leicester City striker also represented the Super Eagles during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. Iheanacho has scored 12 goals in 42 appearances for the national team.
Kelechi Iheanacho currently plays for Leicester City and earns $80,000.
Alex Iwobi – Midfielder, Everton – $68,000
Alex Iwobi started his club career with Arsenal as he joined the youth team in 2004. The Nigerian international made his senior debut in 2015 for Arsenal against Sheffield Wednesday.
Iwobi scored 15 goals in 149 appearances for Arsenal as he spent four seasons with the senior team. The Nigerian international joined Everton from Arsenal for a fee of about $45 million in the summer of 2019. Iwobi won the FA Cup and two Community Shields with the Gunners. The Nigerian international has scored six goals in 80 appearances for Everton.
Alex made his international debut for Nigeria in 2015 although he started as a youth international for England. The Everton player has scored nine goals in 53 appearances for the Super Eagles. Iwobi scored the winning goal against Zambia to secure a spot for the Super Eagles in the 2018 World Cup. He was featured in the 2018 World Cup as Nigeria was knocked out in the group stage.
Iwobi played for the Super Eagles in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. The Nigerian international was sent off in the Round of 16 of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations as the Super Eagles suffered a 0-1 defeat to Tunisia.
Alex Iwobi currently plays for Everton and earns $68,000.
Victor Moses – Midfielder, Spartak Moscow – $56,000
Victor Moses was a popular player amongst Nigerian fans after he played a huge role in Chelsea’s Premier League triumph during the 2016-17 season. The Nigerian international started his club career in Crystal Palace before joining Wigan in 2010. Chelsea signed Moses in the summer of 2022 from Wigan. Moses went on loan to Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham United before returning for the 2016-17 season.
The Nigerian international was converted to a right wing-back under Antonio Conte as Chelsea won the league. Moses was later loaned out to different teams such as Fenerbache, Inter Millan and Spartak Moscow. The latter club signed the player on a permanent basis in July 2021. Victor Moses scored 18 goals in 128 appearances while playing for Chelsea. He won the Premier League, FA Cup and two UEFA Europa League titles with the Blues.
Victor Moses scored 12 goals in 37 appearances for the Nigeria national team. The Spartak Moscow player was an important player in Nigeria’s 2013 Africa Cup of Nations triumph. Moses featured for the Super Eagles in the 2014 World Cup and the 2018 World Cup where he scored a goal in the 1-2 defeat to Argentina.
Victor Moses currently plays for Spartak Moscow and earns $56,000.
Moses Simon – Winger, Nantes – $40,000
Moses Simon was Nigeria’s best player during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. The Nigerian international started his senior club career with AS Trencin in 2014 where he scored 17 goals in 39 appearances before joining Gent in 2015. Moses scored 21 goals in 136 appearances with Gent as he spent four seasons at the club before joining Levante. The Nigerian international won the Belgian Pro League and Belgian Super Cup while in Gent.
Moses joined Levante on loan for the 2019-20 season with an option to buy. The deal was made permanent the following season as he signed a four-year deal. Moses has scored 17 goals in 85 appearances for Nantes.
Simon made his debut for the Super Eagles in 2015 against Uganda. He has scored six goals in 45 appearances for the national team. Simon represented Nigeria during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
Highest paid Nigerian footballer FAQ
Who is the highest-paid footballer in Nigeria?
Odion Ighalo is the highest-paid Nigerian footballer. Ighalo joined Al Shabab from Shanghai Shenhua in January 2020 where he was being paid $402,000. The Nigerian international was the first player to play for Manchester United after he took a pay cut and received $200,000 to join the club on loan.
The Nigerian international was paid $170,000 in Al Shabab, and he is thought to stay in the same salary range in his new Saudi club, Al-Hilal, which he joins after the AFCON 2021.
Who is the richest Nigerian football player overall?
John Obi Mikel is the richest Nigerian footballer with a net worth of about $57 million. The Nigerian international is one of the greatest footballers in the country’s history. Mike Obi made his fortunes while playing for Chelsea in the Premier League. He spent 11 seasons at Chelsea where he scored six goals in 372 appearances for the club. Mikel won two Premier League titles, one UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Europa League, three FA Cup, one English Football League Cup and one FA Community Shield during his time at Chelsea.
Mikel Obi is currently a free agent after his contract with Kuwait SC was terminated just four months after joining the club.
Who is the most expensive footballer from Nigeria?
Victor Osimhen is the most expensive Nigerian footballer. Osimhen joined Napoli from Lille for a fee of about $80m in 2020 after scoring 18 goals in 38 appearances for the French club. The Nigerian international has scored 19 goals in 45 appearances for Napoli. Osimhen is being paid $110,000 per week in Napoli.
Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup Opening Game To Be Moved Ahead
By Adedapo Adesanya
The first match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup taking place in Qatar may be moved backward by the organisers, new reports suggest.
The reason is to allow the host nation to be involved in the first match and will mean that the tournament will now be staged from November 20 to December.
The tournament had originally been scheduled to get underway on Monday, November 21 with African champions, Senegal, taking on the Netherlands in Group A.
However, multiple reports confirm that FIFA now plans to move host nation Qatar’s opening clash against Ecuador, also in Group A, to Sunday, November 20 as the curtain-raiser.
This has yet to be confirmed with approval being sought by the Bureau of the FIFA Council (compriseing FIFA president Gianni Infantino and the leaders of each continental confederation) but it is thought to be a formality, according to multiple reports.
Host nations usually start the global tournament in the opening game of each of the last four editions of the tournament; Germany beat Costa Rica 4-2 in 2006, South Africa was held 1-1 by Mexico in 2010, Brazil defeated Croatia in 2014 and Russia eased past Saudi Arabia four years later by a 5-0 rout.
The last tournament in which the hosts did not begin the tournament was in 2002 when Senegal memorably beat defending champions France, 1-0 in the opening game of the tournament held in South Korea and Japan.
It will be the first time in the World Cup’s 92-year history that the competition is being staged in the middle of the European domestic season and ensures that the Premier League – alongside other major leagues across the globe – is being paused for six weeks after the opening three months of the campaign.
It will be only the second World Cup held in Asia, after the 2002 edition in South Korea and Japan, and the last one to feature 32 teams before it increases to 48 teams in 2026, which will be held in USA, Canada, and Mexico.
The knockout stage will begin with the last 16, followed by the quarter-finals and semi-finals, and ending with the third place play-off on Saturday, December 17, 2022, and the final on Sunday, December 18, 2022, at the Lusail Iconic Stadium.
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