Napoli said they “did not intend to insult” Victor Osimen after the club posted a social media post that appeared to mock their star striker for missing a penalty.
The video, which was posted and then deleted from Napoli’s official TikTok on Tuesday, has since removed almost all images of himself in the team shirt from his social media accounts, and his agent said he was considering legal action.
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“To avoid any possible exploitation of the matter, SSC Napoli would like to state clearly that the club never intended to offend or make fun of Victor Osimen, who is an asset to the club.” Napoli gave this information in a statement Thursday.
“Napoli rejected all offers to sign the striker in the summer — a strong testament to the club’s appreciation for him.
“On social media and TikTok in particular, expressive language is used in a light-hearted and playful manner. There was no intention of mocking or mocking Victor in this case.
“If Victor was offended in any way, it was not the club’s intention at all.”
After Wednesday’s 4-1 Serie A win over Udinese, in which Osimen scored, Napoli head coach Rudi Garcia called the post “stylish” but added the player was committed to playing for the Italian champions.
Nigeria international Osimhen scored 31 goals for Napoli last season as they ended their three-decade wait for another Serie A title and reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Despite talks of opening a new deal months ago, the 24-year-old is yet to sign a new deal to replace his current deal which runs until 2025.
“I can assure you that he loves this jersey and he will give it his all this year,” Garcia said in a post-match interview with DAZN.
“No one wanted to harm, not TikTok or Victor on their social networks. No harm was intended but there was an instinctive reaction. I don’t know if Osimen will publish his photos on social media again now. [Napoli] shirt.”
Tensions flared between Garcia and Osimhen during Sunday’s draw at Bologna, with the forward visibly upset after being substituted. But Garcia praised Osimen’s attitude in Wednesday’s game.
“In Bologna, we were all disappointed and angry not to win,” Garcia said. “Especially Victor because he missed the penalty. We cleared things up and everything went back to sporting normal. Then there were two days left to manage because of a clumsy episode. [the posting of the video]”
Osimhen scored Napoli’s second goal against Udinese but did not celebrate as his teammates ran to congratulate him.
He had earlier allowed teammate Piotr Zielinski to take a penalty that broke the deadlock.
“I admired him,” Garcia said of Osimene, Napoli’s designated penalty taker. “I’ve had a great relationship with Victor since I arrived and I’m happy because he scored, a center forward who always wants to score.”
Osimene and Napoli return to action at Lecce on Saturday before the Serie A giants host Real Madrid in the Champions League in October. 3.