Almeria manager Rubi praises Umar Sadiq's growth

Almeria manager Rubi has hailed Nigerian striker Umar Sadiq’s ongoing growth as a player.

Umar Sadiq

The 24-year-old, who is the club’s top scorer this season with seven goals in 16 appearances, has been in outstanding form for the league leaders. It will be recalled that his exploits in Segunda with the Rojiblancos last season memorably earned him a maiden call-up to the Nigeria senior national team in March. However, he was unable to honour the invitation due to travel restrictions, and has yet to get a recall.

He has picked up where he left off this term though, and his goals and assists (of which he has seven as well) have been crucial to Almeria’s push for promotion to La Liga. The club are clear at the top of Spain’s second-tier, holding an eight-point lead over second-place Eibar.

However, the striker is currently in the middle of a five-game scoring drought. His last goal came in a 3-1 win over Real Sociedad B over a month ago; since then, Sadiq has fired blanks, with his only goal contribution coming via an assist last weekend against Real Valladolid.

Former Real Betis manager Rubi, praised Sadiq for his upbeat disposition, while suggesting that was not always the case through the course of his lean spell. He also spoke highly of the striker’s selflessness.

“I'm hallucinating with him because this week has been one of his happiest since he’s been here,” said the 51-year-old. “He finally understands that you can play football well and not score.

“Talking to him, he told me that he was happy with the play of the second goal against Valladolid (for which he played the decisive pass). These are the things that are going to make Almería even bigger, because if players of this level put their humanity in, it transmits calmness.”

Sadiq, who is the third-highest goalscorer in the Segunda Division so far this term has, over the last few weeks, been linked with moves to Barcelona and Newcastle. He is also reportedly on the radar of Sevilla, who are looking to resolve their striker situation following an injury to first-choice centre-forward Youssef En-Nesyri.

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