The year 2023 has been quite eventful, and Nigeria has been part of all the action
Global search engine Google have revealed some of the sports trends in Nigeria in 2023, and surprisingly, no Nigerian footballer made the cut.
Headlining these trends are Inter Miami and Al Nassr. Of course, these clubs are not the two biggest football clubs in the world, but Lionel Messi’s transfer to the MLS and Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to the Saudi Pro League influenced these searches.
Aside from Ronaldo and Messi, another notable name on the list is Arsenal star Declan Rice. But definitely, the reason ‘Declan Rice’ is one of the top trends for 2023 is not just because of his transfer to Arsenal; it is also because that is the title of Nigerian artiste Odumodublack’s hit song, which has racked up almost 17 million streams on Spotify.
Read more to check out the top trends in 2023 as compiled by Soccernet.ng.
1. Inter Miami.
Before 2023, Inter Miami was just another club in US Major League Soccer that was owned by former Manchester United star David Beckham. However, after Messi’s contract at PSG expired and talks about his new destination started, the club jumped into the limelight.
There were talks that the magisterial Argentina attacker would return to Barcelona, but he opted to move to the American club.
Upon joining the club, he made a big impact, becoming the main man, scoring goals aplenty, and linking up well with his teammates. And because Messi has a lot of fans in Nigeria, it is no surprise that Inter Miami is one of the year’s top trends.
2. Al Nassr
Portugal captain Ronaldo joined Saudi Pro League club Al Nassr in January following a disappointing stay at Manchester. The 38-year-old’s decision to move to Saudi Arabia made him the highest-paid footballer in the world, and many players joined the league afterward.
All of these have contributed to Al Nassr’s popularity. And as Ronaldo has millions of Nigerian fans, it’s natural that Al Nassr would be one of the trends.
3. Declan Rice
The Englishman has had a great stay at Arsenal since he joined in the summer. However, part of what has made Declan Rice one of the top trends in Nigeria is Odumodublvck. The Nigerian afro-pop star shot into the limelight after his hit track ‘Declan Rice’ this year. Arsenal also used Odumodublvck’s song during the unveiling of Declan Rice in the summer.
4. Ballon d’or 2023
This is another trend that was likely influenced primarily by Lionel Messi. The award is the biggest individual football award, and after winning the World Cup with Argentina in December 2022, there was a lot of talk that the Argentine would win it this year. Eventually, Messi won his eighth, cementing his name as the only footballer to do so in the sands of time.
What also made the 2023 Ballon d’Or popular in Nigeria was Victor Osimhen, who became the first Nigerian to finish in the top eight.
5. Mykhalo Mudryk
Mudryk was at the centre of a serious transfer battle between Chelsea and Arsenal earlier this year. The Gunners had almost gotten his signature, but Shakhtar decided to sell to Chelsea for €70 million. This drama was quite a talking point in Nigeria, as Chelsea and Arsenal have a large fan base.
Unfortunately for Chelsea and Mudryk, he has failed to produce any significant impact since he joined the club.
6. Achraf Hakimi
Hakimi made the headlines earlier this year after there were claims that his wife wanted a divorce, but she would not get anything because all his properties were in his mother’s name. This news created a buzz on the internet and social media, especially in Nigeria.
Also, he was one of the top three nominees for the CAF Player of The Year Award, alongside Victor Osimhen.