The UEFA Champions League quarter-final draws have produced four tasty ties with one in particular of interest, Villareal v Bayern Munich.
Can Samuel Chukwueze become first Super Eagle to win a UCL quarter-final since Mikel Obi?
Samuel Chukwueze will play in the Champions League quarter-final for Villareal against Bayern Munich.
Samuel Chukwueze’s Villareal stunned Juventus in the round of 16, making it the second season in a row that a Nigerian will play in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final after Zaidu Sanusi did so last year with Porto.
The tie against Bayern Munich is set to be difficult for Villareal but it presents Chukwueze an opportunity to break a long-standing barrier on Nigerian players in the Champions League.
No Nigerian player has won a quarter-final match in the Champions League since 2014, nearly a decade ago.
The last Super Eagle to do so was John Obi Mikel who featured as Chelsea defeated Paris Saint Germain to secure a semi-final ticket.
Since then, Wilfred Ndidi has played in the quarter-final for Leicester City but lost to Atletico Madrid in 2017 and then Zaidu Sanusi in 2021 as Porto fell to Chelsea.
Not only is Mikel Obi the last Nigerian player to play a Champions League semi-final game, he also holds the distinction of being the last one to win the trophy, nearly a decade ago with Chelsea.
Perhaps it is poetic that Chukwueze must not beat the team that Mikel beat in 2012 to break the record but Bayern Munich are overwhelming favourites and will be expected to make light work of Villareal.
If Chukwueze does play, it will be interesting to watch his direct matchup against Bayern left-back, Alphonso Davies who is arguably one of the best in the world in that position.
Chukwueze too can be a handful when he is in the mood which means this tie may not be a forgone conclusion just yet, after all they do say ‘Naija no dey carry last’.