Remember the name Samuel Chukwueze
When one receives the ball on the flank, gets enough time to switch it to his favored left foot, goes at Marcelo, drops a shoulder to call in Casemiro to assist his compatriot, before Toni Kroos and Sergio Ramos are required to put out the fire - you know what’s up. An unknown attacker just knocked at Real Madrid’s door unannounced and introduced himself to the world in a language punctuated by yet another left foot for Real Madrid to lose sleep over. The Nigerian teenager, Samuel Chimerenka Chukwueze, looks to be a real talent.
He needed only 4-minutes
Of course the night belonged to former Arsenal midfielder, Santi Cazorla but was seemingly scripted in Chukwueze’s hometown of Ikwuano, Abia State in Nigeria. Cazorla, 34, grabbed a brace as the yellow submarine of Villareal shared the spoils with the European and club world cup champions in a La Liga matchday 18 encounter. The 19-year-old Samuel was however completely focused on other business, touching every ball as if it was the last time - very much persuaded to leave it all on the pitch as he took the rare chance afforded him by Luis Garcia. After making his first team debut for Villareal on 20 September 2018, Chukwueze has already created experiences that justifies him being mistaken with more established stars of the modern game. One other notable experience occurred just four minutes into the Madrid match, the boy is surely not one to have cold feet. Chukwueze burst into the Los Blancos box inviting world cup winner, Raphael Varane to challenge for the ball before dropping a shoulder and squeezing a delightful pass between Casemiro and the former. The pass met the unmarked Cazorla who had the simple task of curling it into the far bottom corner.
There isn’t actually a lot to tell about Chukwueze who signed for Villareal’s youth side in 2017 from his home town’s Diamond Football Academy. He made his senior debut for the Yellow Submarine’s reserve side on 15 April 2018 before the first team debut in September of the same year against Glasgow Rangers in the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League. Samuel first tested Spanish La Liga football early November against Levante, also making his international senior debut later that month for the Super Eagles in a 0-0 friendly draw against Uganda. As you can tell, he hasn’t had a lot of caps or minutes come his way, with only 8 league appearances where he has contributed 2 goals and 1 assist. He has however shown his worth on every occasion. He is the type you don’t introduce to the “big league” but rather entreat the big game to welcome the youngster, roll out the red carpet if they have to. He knows what it means to take his chances and at this rate, only a few stops will he need to reach global stardom if any at all. What about his playing style?
The “reincarnation” of Arjen Robben?
One famous “one legged rooster” in the global game is about to call it quits but may be re-incarnated in the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup Bronze Boot winner. Chukwueze has been likened to Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben who is famous for terrorising defenders on one foot. The Dutch footballer is literally flat footed, able to play with only his left-foot and the young Nigerian looks to be resembling the same trait. Running at players in full speed, cutting inside the box unhindered, laying up passes or going at goal - almost like a hot knife cutting through butter. Just like Robben who swirled in the Spain box at the 2014 FIFA world cup, twisting and turning Ramos, Pique and Casillas who almost kindly started sweeping the pitch with their arms, before he banged the ball into the roof of the net - Samuel looks well capable to re-introduce such.
It’s another beautiful 2019 day, another Nigerian and African star added to the fold. The high school that gave the infamous African novelist, Chinua Achebe to the world, has added a second gift in Samuel Chimerenka Chukwueze.