Italian Serie A club Napoli has responded to the recent controversy surrounding a TikTok video that appeared to mock their Nigerian international striker, Victor Osimhen.
In an official statement released on Tuesday, the club expressed its perspective on the incident, emphasizing its appreciation for Osimhen’s contributions to the team.
The controversy stemmed from a sequence of events that began during Napoli’s Serie A match against Bologna over the weekend. Osimhen, who had already missed a penalty, was involved in a heated confrontation with coach Rudi Garcia on the touchline. This incident raised tensions among fans and pundits alike.
Two days later, Napoli posted a video on their TikTok account, which was widely perceived as a veiled reference to Osimhen’s penalty miss and the altercation with the coach.
The video generated significant backlash within the football community, prompting Osimhen to remove all Napoli-related content from his Instagram profile. Roberto Calenda, Osimhen’s agent, even hinted at potential legal action against the club.
However, the 24-year-old forward managed to put the controversy aside and scored a goal during Napoli’s commanding 4-1 victory over Udinese on Wednesday. Notably, Osimhen refrained from celebrating the goal, suggesting the tension still lingers.
In response to the unfolding situation, Napoli issued an official statement addressing the TikTok video and the ensuing controversy. In the statement, the club emphasized their respect for Osimhen and denied any malicious intent.
“Calcio Napoli, wishing to avoid any exploitation of the issue, point out that we never wanted to offend or mock Victor Osimhen, who is a treasure of this club,” the statement reads. “As proof of that, during the summer training retreat, the club firmly rebuffed every offer that was received for the striker’s transfer abroad.”
The statement also touched on the nature of social media content, particularly TikTok, explaining, “Social media, in particular, TikTok, has always used an expressive form of language with a light heart and creativity, without wanting to, as in the case with Osimhen as a protagonist, have any intention of insult or derision.”
Napoli concluded their statement by acknowledging Osimhen’s perspective, stating, “In any case, if Victor perceived any offense towards him, this was not what the club intended.”
The Napoli camp remains hopeful that this statement will help de-escalate the situation and refocus attention on their upcoming matches in Serie A.
The incident has, however, shed light on the growing influence of social media in the world of football, with clubs being urged to exercise caution in their online interactions to avoid potential controversies.