Youngster Raphael Onyedika may have shunned big-time football with AC Milan for Belgian champions Club Brugge to continue a great learning process he began in Denmark, before he heads out to one of biggest clubs in Europe thereafter, IKENWA NNABUOGOR reckons…
The trajectory of up and coming Nigerian midfielder Raphael Onyedika Nwadike may have received divine blessings.
This is so judging from his astronomical rise in his career since he arrived in Denmark from local football talent factory Ebiede FC in Lagos famed for producing some Nigerian football finest like Obafemi Martins, Paul Onuachu, Sylvester Igbonu, Femi Ajilore and many others.
For a player who was struggling to get his career started in a local academy Ozala Soccer Academy in Onitsha, Onyedika’s story should be an inspiration to any player who wishes to ply his trade overseas.
Just one season at Danish lower division side FC Fredericia was enough for this fast learner of a talent to grab his first-team football chance at parent side FC Midtylland and the rest is what football followers read and watch of him now.
Just like he didn’t take time to convince FC Midtylland handlers he was worth a shot at the Danish top flight football, Onyedika proved why Italian giants AC Milan were ready to break the bank for the unsung midfielder.
Onyedika’s eventual gainers Club Brugge outfoxed Milan to leave the perennial Italian champions the losers of this special talent from Onitsha as the youngster proved on his debut in the local derby by helping his side to turn back neighbours Cercle Brugge 4-0 on Friday.
What looked like it wasn’t his debut turned Onyedika a winner of Angolan midfielder Clinton Mata’s early shower due to injury in the 29th minute and the rest of 61 minutes Onyedika lasted on the pitch had grace written all over it.
Onyedika was manager Carl Hoefkens’s delight in the Cercle Brugge game as the youngster continues to make bold statements for a well-deserved Super Eagles invitation.
Brugge have not wasted time to begin reaping their record investment on Onyedika as his solid debut suggests a lot is in his tank to justify the €10 million the multiple Belgian champions splashed on him to beat off Milan.
Many criticised his choice to move to Club Brugge even when Milan came back with an improved offer and matched Midtylland’s €10 million valuation, but it appears Onyedika would have the last laugh after all.
Even Milan and Italy legend Paolo Maldini, who is currently Technical Director at Milan, was impressed with the youngster and wanted him to replace Ivorian midfielder Franck Kessie, who had defected to Barcelona, to underline how the kid has grown despite only spending just three years in European football.
Milan are a top team and competition for first-team places will always be tough and perhaps, Onyedika thought about this that made him opt for Belgium at the end of the day.
Could Onyedika be right in his choice to join Club Brugge and dump Milan after both teams matched Midtylland’s €10 million price tag?
It remains to be seen if he was right in his choice, but Milan’s exposure would have helped his career better and even attract bigger spenders just as was the case with Kessie.
Strongly built, confident, tough-tackling and technically aware, it can only get better for the young Onitsha-born midfielder and consistency with the right attitude which even Maldini thumbed up, Onyedika will surely raise the bar in Belgium and then go on to bigger things.
Hardly put any wrong foot at Midtylland in 37 league appearances in one and half seasons, Onyedika will surely improve faced with the bigger challenges of the Belgian top flight, plus the UEFA Champions League football he will experience again.
Onyedika will be looking forward to improve on his UEFA Champions League outings with Club Brugge as he’s expected to start his Champions League run with his new side when they host Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday.
Onyedika may have shunned Milan, but will happily welcome them with open arms with well-risen stocks that would water the Milan’s higher-ups’ mouths for a successful trading and a staggering transfer fee may not be ruled out.
At only 21, Onyedika will surely be on his way to greater things and Club Brugge will definitely be his massive launch pad.
A few Nigerians have already gone on to achieve bigger things in their post-Brugge careers and Onyedika will likely join the likes of Daniel “Da Bull” Amokachi, Joseph Akpala and Manasseh Ishiaku, all ex-Club Brugge boys who moved on to more glory.
It may not necessarily be Milan after Club Brugge for Onyedika after all, who says Real Madrid will not break the bank for a young, exciting holding midfielder?
The next on Onyedika’s career list is the Super Eagles and perhaps, he may have caught the eye of new coach Jose Peseiro and his call-up may not be long in coming, but then he has to continue to impress where it matters most.
Peseiro will surely receive scouting reports about him and Onyedika will have to follow that up with impressive performances to convince the Super Eagles coach he will be of value to his team.
The Super Eagles midfield will surely welcome a new member any time soon.
Even Onyedika himself is expectant.