Eagles Players Who Became Champions In 2023/24 Season

7 Eagles Who Became Champions Overseas In 2023/24 Season

Nigeria’s Super Eagles’ players hoisted the country’s flag high at their respective European clubs in the recently concluded 2023/24 season. They performed spectacularly, weathered the storm, cold or warm, and brought glory to themselves and the nation.

Before their time in Europe, the exploits of heroes past had opened doors for them, and in their turn, they are paving the way for the generation that will come after them.

 

From the major leagues across the continent, Eagles players brought pride to their motherland and the people by finishing the season with medals hung around their necks, a symbol of conquest, winning leagues and cup competitions. Complete Sports takes a look at Eagles who became champions in the immediate past season.in Europe.

Ademola Lookman (Atalanta)

There is almost nothing else to say about Ademola Lookman, who many have touted to be among the leading candidates for the 2024 African Player of the Year award. Lookman represents courage and perseverance, being one of the great Nigerian talents in Europe who eventually found a home in Bergamo, Italy.

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He started his career at Charlton Athletic, followed by stints at Everton and RB Leipzig, from where he went on loan to Fulham and Leicester City. He was eventually sold to Atalanta, where he settled quickly in his first season and became even more equipped for the second. The Nigeria international netted 15 goals in the 2022/23 season and this term, which will end for his club this Sunday against Fiorentina in the league, he has 16 goals already.

Though Atalanta did not win the Serie A, they are in fourth position and could leapfrog Juventus into third if they win at home against the Florence-based side on June 2. Lookman is a key factor for Gian Piero Gasperini’s side. They narrowly lost the Italian Cup to the Old Lady, but he singlehandedly ensured his side made up in Europe. Facing a Bayer Leverkusen side unbeaten in 51 matches was a tall order. However, Lookman had superior ideas, completely annihilating the Bundesliga champions in the Europa League final.

Lookman’s performance in the Europa League final, where he scored a hat-trick, ended Atalanta’s 61-year wait for a title and handed them their first-ever European trophy. He went home with a winner’s medal, the match ball, and the Most Valuable Player award. Lookman is now set to be crowned with the highest state recognition in the City of Bergamo.

Victor Boniface (Bayer Leverkusen)

Victor Boniface’s storyline is a testament to hard work and self-belief, hallmarks of champions. Growing up in a military barracks in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria’s sunshine state, Boniface had a bright dream as a child, kicking a round leather object on a grassless football field.

First recognized at Bodo/Glimt, where he won the league, Boniface did not stay long before Union Saint-Gilloise in Belgium sought his services. His 17 goals in over 50 matches, including five strikes in the UEFA Europa League, caught Bayer Leverkusen’s attention. They paid €20 million for him, and he quickly blended into Xavi Alonso’s squad. Boniface’s four consecutive Bundesliga Rookie of the Month awards highlight his influence.

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The Super Eagles striker was irresistible in Germany, scoring 21 goals and providing 10 assists in 34 matches. Despite a three-month injury layoff, he played a central role in Leverkusen’s historic Bundesliga title win and added the DFB-Pokal to his accolades. Though Leverkusen’s unbeaten run was disrupted by Lookman in the Europa League, Boniface’s campaign was still covered in pride.

Nathan Tella (Bayer Leverkusen)

Nathan Tella grew up in Stevenage, England, dreaming of becoming a footballer like many of his peers. After playing youth football at Arsenal and Southampton, he was promoted to the first team at the Saints and later loaned to Burnley.

In August 2023, Leverkusen signed Tella on a five-year contract for £20 million. He made his first appearance in a 5–1 victory against SV Darmstadt 98 and scored his first goal for the club in a 1–2 victory against Molde in the Europa League. Tella was called up by then-Super Eagles head coach José Peseiro for the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Despite irregular starts, Tella scored seven goals and registered six assists in 42 appearances, contributing to Leverkusen’s domestic double of the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal.

Raphael Onyedika (Club Brugge)

Raphael Onyedika is one of the fastest-rising Nigerian players. A strong defensive midfielder, Onyedika learned the ropes at FC Midtjylland in Denmark and after a loan spell at Fredericia, Jupiler Pro League side Club Brugge poached him in 2022. Onyedika quickly established himself as a defensive wall at Brugge.

Onyedika’s performances earned him admiration from former Super Eagles coach, Jose Peseiro, who included him in the squad for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. While he did not score in the penultimate season, he registered three goals in crucial matches during the 2023/24 campaign. Onyedika played a key role in Brugge’s league title win, featuring in all but one playoff match.

William Troost-Ekong (PAOK Saloniki)

William Troost-Ekong had an unforgettable season, finishing with the Greek league title with PAOK Saloniki. After a rough few years, including helping Watford return to the Premier League and enduring unpalatable experiences, he joined PAOK and became a key figure in their defense.

Also Read: 5 Nigerian Players Who Suffered Relegation In 2023/24 Euro Leagues

Despite injury setbacks, Troost-Ekong’s leadership at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations was undeniable. He scored three crucial goals for Nigeria and was named the Most Valuable Player of the competition. Although he missed the end of the season due to injury, his contributions earlier in the season were vital in PAOK’s title win.

Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City)

Kelechi Iheanacho won the English Championship with Leicester City and secured promotion back to the Premier League. However, he did not play a significant role in the club’s success story this time, reportedly due to a falling out with the manager.

Despite scoring six goals and providing three assists, Iheanacho was absent during the run-in to the Championship title. His future at the club remains uncertain, but he has two titles to his name at Leicester.

Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City)

Wilfred Ndidi took on a new role last season and delivered well, deeply involved in Leicester City’s promotion journey and Championship win. Renowned for his defensive capabilities, coach Enzo Maresca pushed Ndidi into a more advanced role, and he excelled.

The 27-year-old scored six goals and registered six assists in 36 matches. Though he did not contribute much to the senior national team, Ndidi was a constant presence for the Foxes. The Championship triumph is his second title at Leicester, and while his contract runs out this summer, he has a higher chance of being offered a new deal.

This list highlights the exceptional achievements of Nigeria’s Super Eagles players in the 2023/24 season, bringing pride to themselves and their country.

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