Despite playing for one of the smallest clubs in Serie A, the Nigerian international has outperformed two of Africa’s greatest exports to Italy, but it is an achievement that has come with mixed feelings for the Onitsha-born star
Super Eagles star Simeon Nwankwo has sealed his legacy for all times in Italian football, after beating the Serie A records set by AC Milan great George Weah and former Inter Milan ace Obafemi Martins.
But Nwankwo has not had time to enjoy the historical feats, with Crotone’s struggles dampening the occasion for the Nigerian forward.
Simy, as he is fondly called, has contributed 17 goals in 30 league matches for Crotone, with nine of those remarkably coming in his last six games.
That scoring run placed Simy above compatriot Martins – who clocked 11 goals – as the most prolific Nigerian in a single season in the Italian top-flight.
And having found the back of the net in consecutive games against Atalanta, Torino, Lazio, Bologna, Napoli, and Spezia, Simy left Weah behind on five to become the only African to have scored in six straight Serie A matches.
It is an incredible company to keep for a striker who was little-known in his country before arriving in Italy via Portugal.
While individual accolades continue to flow towards Simy, it is ridicule facing his Crotone side on the verge of dropping from the elite league.
The 28-year-old notched 20 goals to power Crotone’s promotion from Serie B last term, but even if he gets as many – he is already only four short – this campaign, it might not be enough to save the Pythagoreans from relegation.
With eight matches left to play, bottom-of-the-table Crotone are a massive 13 points from safety, and the club’s fate appears doomed despite the best efforts of their 16-goal hero.
For a man who places collective success over personal glory, Simy does not know how to celebrate his historic feats in the middle of Crotone’s troubles.
“I do not know what to say,” he told Gazzetta.it when asked if he ever thought he would one day be better than Weah and Martins.
“The truth is that all these numbers are nice, but I’ve never been a person who thinks about these things.
“It’s nice to hear that you have made great numbers and broken records of important players, but my team is last in the standings. How can I be happy? At the end of the season, I will do my own analysis, but not at this moment.”
Now Crotone’s all-time top scorer with 62 goals in 151 games, Simy’s legendary status in Italy is sealed.
There are more records within reach of the former Portimonense ace. He is just two goals from breaking Yakubu Aiyegbeni’s record as the Nigerian with the most goals in a single campaign in Europe’s top five leagues this millennium.