Rangers lost the Europa League trophy to Eintracht Frankfurt on Wednesday, but both of their Nigerian stars were outstanding on the night
A few former football stars were in agreement in their assessment of the performance of Super Eagles youngster Calvin Bassey during Rangers’ penalty shootout loss to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League final in Seville on Wednesday.
Bassey had been exceptional in his previous 13 appearances in the competition as the Gers made it to their first European final in more than a decade.
But the 22-year-old saved his best for the final against Frankfurt, delivering a display that international teammate Kenneth Omeruo believes deserved a man-of-the-match award.
Bassey racked up four clearances, three interceptions, two blocked shots, two tackles, and won seven of eleven duels as Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men pushed their Bundesliga opponents all the way.
Former AC Milan and Rangers striker Mark Hateley is convinced that with his performance and his versatility, Bassey could be on his way to a big club this summer.
“Calvin Bassey has come so far, so quickly,” Hateley said on BBC Sportsound.
“Established himself as a centre-half, wing-back, full-back. He’s put himself in a place right now where I imagine there’s a lot of clubs looking at him. He’s still only 22-years-old. He has been outstanding tonight.”
Rangers legend Ally McCoist agrees with Hateley, reiterating that Frankfurt had met a wall in the Super Eagles defender.
“Calvin Bassey has been absolutely phenomenal. He has been a colossus this evening,” McCoist said.
Rangers eventually lost the encounter 5-4 on penalties after full-time scores had ended 1-1, with ex-Arsenal man Aaron Ramsey missing his kick.
But former Liverpool and Everton midfielder Don Hutchison is certain that Bassey was one of the few shining lights on an ultimately disappointing evening for Rangers.
“You’ve got to feel really emotional for the Rangers fans that are crying. The players left so much on the pitch, the work rate you wouldn’t believe.
“There were so many good performances. Bassey was a giant, a superstar, incredible performance.
“The first 45 minutes flew away from the Rangers players, which is understandable. They were so much better in the second half. I don’t think Rangers played it to Ryan Kent enough.
“Eintracht were there for the beating. Maybe it was a bridge too far. It was there to be won.”
Bassey joined Rangers from Leicester City academy in 2000 and was a member of their 2021 title-winning campaign.