UEL

Rangers' Nigerian stars aim to follow in Kanu, Mikel's footsteps

The Gers will be seeking their first Europa League trophy when they take on Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville.

Super Eagles trio Leon Balogun (L), Calvin Bassey (C) and Joe Aribo (R) could all land Rangers their first Europa League title

On Wednesday night, will eyes will be on the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium as Rangers take on Eintracht Frankfurt in this season's Europa League final.

Rangers came through the qualifying to get to this stage. The Gers beat German side, RB Leipzig, in the semi-final and will be hoping to seal a win against another Bundesliga club, Frankfurt, in the final.

While Rangers can count on the support from their fans, they will also be backed by many Nigerians. The reason for the Nigerian support is not far-fetched. Rangers have three Super Eagles stars in their squad, with all playing a vital role in their successful run.

Joe Aribo, Leon Balogun and Calvin Bassey have all played a massive role for Rangers in the competition.

Aribo has featured in all of Rangers 14 matches in the competition this season, providing three assists. Bassey, Rangers' young player of the year, has played 13 times. Meanwhile, Balogun has ten appearances in the competition, chipping in two goals.

All the three Super Eagles stars will go into the match aiming to emulate the achievements of some of their predecessors. With the trio chasing history, Pulse Sports Nigeria takes a look at Nigerian players that have won the Europa League.

A movie could be made out of Taribo's time at Inter Milan, but the highlight of his two-year stay at the club was winning the UEFA Cup, now the Europa League.

Inter had already lost the final the previous season to Schalke 04 before Taribo joined in 1997.

Taribo, who was known for his religious antics, proved to be the good luck charm Inter needed as they went all the way to win the trophy in 1998.

The ex-Super Eagles defender played a key role in Inter's run, although the final ended on a disappointing note for him as he was sent off eight minutes from time.

Nonetheless, he still ended up with a winners medal as Inter triumphed in a 3-0 win over Lazio.

Kanu was also part of the Inter's side that won the Europa League/UEFA Cup in 1998. However, unlike Taribo, Kanu's role was limited in the team.

The ex-Arsenal did not even get off the bench in the final, although he still earned a winners medal.

Chidi Odiah (CSKA Moscow)

Chidi Odiah played an important part in CSKA Moscow's run to the UEFA Cup title in 2005. The former Super Eagles defender played nine games and scored one goal as CSKA upset the odds in 2005.

The ex-Nigerian international played all 90 minutes as the Russian giants beat Sporting Lisbon 3-1 in a final played at Estadio José Alvalade, Lisbon.

John Mikel Obi and Victor Moses (Chelsea)

Having won the Champions League in 2012, Chelsea surprisingly found themselves in the Europa League in the 2012/2013 season after finishing third in their Champions League group.

But Chelsea managed to turn the disappointment of failing to reach the Champions League knockout stage by winning the Europa League.

Although neither got to feature in the showpiece, ex-Nigerian stars John Mikel Obi and Victor Moses were part of Chelsea's squad that beat Benfica 2-1 in the final.

Samuel Chukwueze is the sixth Nigerian to win the competition after Villarreal beat Manchester United in the final. Although he did not take part in the final after picking up an injury in the semifinal against Arsenal, he played a key role in their run to the final.

The 22-year-old contributed five assists in the competition last season to help Villarreal win their first European trophy.

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