Nigeria International Victor Osimhen started and scored Napoli’s second goal in their 4-1 win over Udinese on Wednesday, ending his four-game goal drought.
But the star striker declined to celebrate the goal, amid a souring of his relationship with the club, following a mocking TikTok video posted by the club after Osimhen missed penalty at Bologna.
Napoli boss Rudi Garcia insisted on Wednesday that Osimhen ‘loves the jersey’ and is committed to the club, despite his relationship souring with the reigning Serie A champions over the video and the legal threat by Osimhen’s agent.
Garcia admitted pre-match that the posts had made the build-up to the game ‘awkward’.
The Frenchman insisted after Napoli’s victory that Osimhen is fully committed to the Italian champions, despite the forward removing nearly all posts of him wearing the club’s shirt on Instagram.
Garcia also played down reports of a falling out with Osimhen, despite the striker’s touchline outburst after he was substituted in a goalless draw against Bologna on Sunday.
‘I can assure you that Victor loves this jersey,’ Garcia said, as per Football Italia. ‘He is invested 100 per cent in our project.
‘I have a very good relationship with Victor. I am happy for him because he scored tonight.
‘After the match in Bologna, we were all frustrated, angry, Victor in particular, because he missed the penalty. On the sporting aspect and on other levels, especially on TikTok, there have been a lot of things to manage in recent days.
‘Over the last two days there was a bit of trouble with some clumsy behaviour. Nobody wanted to be hurtful, not the TikTok with the video of Victor, nor Victor by taking his photographs down on social media.
‘Nobody intended to hurt anyone, these are instinctive reactions and are understandable. It is his social media account, he can do what he wants with it.’
The initial TikTok video posted by the club centred around his penalty miss in Sunday’s goalless draw against Bologna.
It was a rare miss for the Nigerian who has scored 62 goals in 107 appearances for the Serie A side, yet the video appeared to mock him for his attempts to persuade for the penalty to be given.
The video shows the 24-year-old appealing for a penalty, but using a strange sped-up voice with the caption ‘Gimme penalty please’ before showing him blazing the spot-kick wide of the post.
Osimhen’s agent, Roberto Calenda, suggested that Osimhen was considering legal action against his club over the now deleted video.
Calenda tweeted: ‘What happened today on Napoli’s official profile on the TikTok platform is not acceptable.
‘A video mocking Victor was first made public and then, but now belatedly, deleted.
‘A serious fact that causes very serious damage to the player and adds to the treatment that the boy is suffering in the last period between media trials and fake news.
‘We reserve the right to take legal action and any useful initiative to protect Victor.’
A second video allegedly from the club’s account, which has been circulated online and since deleted, compared Osimhen to a ‘coconut’ – widely viewed as a racial slur.
watch one of the videos mocking Osimhen: