Football club ‘never intended to make fun’ of own player in TikTok video

World

Italian champions Napoli have insisted they did not intend to offend striker Victor Osimhen after appearing to mock him in a video on TikTok.

They posted a video on the social media site appearing to make fun of him following his penalty miss in Sunday’s Serie A goalless draw against Bologna.

Osimhen’s agent has threatened to take legal action against Napoli over the bizarre post – which had an odd, sped-up voice dubbed over the top.

The post has now been deleted.

There appeared to be tension between Osimhen and Napoli manager Rudi Garcia during the game. The footballer was seen berating Garcia as he was substituted four minutes from full-time.

Napoli stopped short of apologising to the Nigerian international on Thursday as they addressed the TikTok clip, hailing him as “an asset to the club”.

“To avoid any potential exploitation of the matter, Napoli would like to explicitly state that the club never intended to offend or make fun of Victor Osimhen, who is an asset to the club,” a statement on the team’s official website said.

“Over the course of the summer Napoli rejected all offers to sign the striker, firm proof of the club’s appreciation of him.

“On social media, and TikTok particularly, expressive language is used in a light-hearted and playful manner. In this case involving Victor there was no intention of mockery or derision.

“If Victor was in any way offended, this was not at all in the club’s intentions.”

It comes after Osimhen helped the Italian club secure their first league title in three decades last season – singlehandedly bolstering Napoli with 31 goals across all competitions.

However, the 24-year-old, who captured the interest of Manchester United this summer, did not sign a new contract with Napoli.

His current deal runs through to the summer of 2025, and there is said to be interest from Saudi Arabia.

Garcia has insisted Osimhen is committed to the club although reports suggest he could be considering his future.

“I can assure you that Victor loves this jersey,” Garcia said after Wednesday’s win over Udinese, in which Osimhen scored but refused to celebrate. “He is invested 100% in our project.

“I have a very good relationship with Victor. I am happy for him because he scored tonight.

“Over the last two days there was a bit of trouble with some clumsy behaviour. Nobody wanted to be hurtful, not the TikTok with the video of Victor, nor Victor by taking his photographs down on social media.

“Nobody intended to hurt anyone, these are instinctive reactions and are understandable. It is his social media account, he can do what he wants with it.

“After the match in Bologna, we were all frustrated, angry, Victor in particular, because he missed the penalty. On the sporting aspect and on other levels, especially on TikTok, there have been a lot of things to manage in recent days.”

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Osimhen’s agent Roberto Calenda issued a statement on X, formerly Twitter, on Tuesday night about the video.

He wrote: “What happened today on Napoli’s official profile on the TikTok platform is not acceptable. A video mocking Victor was first made public and then, but now belatedly, deleted.

“A serious fact that causes very serious damage to the player and adds to the treatment that the boy is suffering in the last period between media trials and fake news.”

He added: “We reserve the right to take legal action and any useful initiative to protect Victor.”

A few hours after his agent’s reaction to the video, Osimhen removed almost all Napoli-related photos from his Instagram account, including last season’s Scudetto celebrations.

He also stopped following Napoli on Instagram before refollowing them.

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