|Org||xxxx National Team|
|Club as Player||Villareal FC|
|Mentor||Prince Victor Apugo|
2019 04 12 Retrieve
[Who is Samuel Chukwueze? The Barcelona-tormenting Nigerian wonderkid linked to Arsenal] I’m so happy to have scored against Barcelona, they’re one of the best clubs in the world and have great players. I want to specially dedicate this goal to my mentor Prince Victor Apugo, who has always been there for me and really helped me, especially when my move to Arsenal didn’t work outs
[After playing for Future Hope as a junior and then the New Generation Academy, Chukwueze describes his arrival at Diamond FA in 2012 as] where it all began. [They] changed my life, they gave me purpose and the mentality that I could [make] it. It serves as a motivation to keep working hard for more success
2019 05 03 Retrieve
[Villareal winger Samuel Chukwueze has ambition to play in Premier League] I need to keep on working hard and to keep improving. I really want to play in England
2019 09 04 Retrieve
[The Nigeria international talks exclusively to Goal about his Dutch idol, facing Lionel Messi and his incredible road to El Madrigal] My mum always tried to stop me from playing football. I loved to play from a very young age but she would try to stop me. She would make me stay in the house and focus on my studies.
I was a good student. But when you love something and you are so passionate about it, it becomes your focus. Your studies start to fade. I was obsessed with playing football. Sometimes, I would go to training and would return home late, and I knew I was going to get punished. They’d say I would have to sleep outside. My mum would say I couldn’t come inside the house! My uncle told me ‘Samuel, you need to stop playing this game and focus on school’ but I didn’t listen. Then, one day they burned my boots! All my training gear, they burnt them so I couldn’t go.
I stopped playing for a while. But one morning one of my friends told me there was a screening happening, where they were picking players to go to a tournament in Portugal. I told them I wasn’t interested because I knew my family wouldn’t allow me to go. He said he would come to my house but I begged him not to. I told him not to disturb my sleep, but he came around 6 o’clock in the morning! My mum, the person who doesn’t like football, who didn’t want me to play football, was the person who answered the door! She woke me up that morning, I was so surprised. She told me my friend was there to pick me up. I told her I wasn’t going and she was the one who said I should take my boots and leave the house! I was so surprised! The person who pushed me away from football was the one who pushed me to that screening. She said God had told her ‘You must allow this boy to play.’ I’m so glad for that.
The coach told me I was too late. They had enough players. I was outside waiting for my friend so we could go home, but the manager of the Academy told the coach to allow me to train so they could see what I could do. I trained, just for a few minutes so the coach could watch, and I did enough to impress him. That was where my career started. I became the top scorer of the Academy, I went to Portugal and won the highest goalscorer award at that tournament, and things went from there.
I was just playing for fun, just enjoying myself. I never knew it could take me anywhere.
I wanted independence. I wanted to learn to cook for myself, to look after myself. I came alone and I knew I had to grow up fast
[He remembers struggling initially with the Spanish language and, especially, in terms of food] I didn’t even know what they were giving me at first, but I didn’t like it!. The meat … there was blood everywhere! But I am adapting, I have learned to love it. I love Spain. My Spanish is improving, I can understand it better than I can speak it
[Cutting in from the right wing onto his left foot, he reminded staff of Arjen Robben – which is a source of huge pride] He’s the king, to me. He’s the perfect player. I watch so many YouTube clips of him, and there are so many things I can learn from watching him. On the way to games, even now, I will still stick on clips of Robben and watch his goals, his dribbling. He’s my inspiration, one of the greatest. I like to be me, and of course you have to be yourself, but you need to learn from people like him. What a player!
[One of those goals came against the mighty Barcelona, in a madcap 4-4 draw in which he terrorised Jordi Alba from start to finish. Villarreal led 4-2 in stoppage time, only for Lionel Messi, of course, to drag Barca to a point] That was my best moment in the first team. But I still wasn’t happy after the game because we didn’t win. I’m not a good loser. I couldn’t sleep that night, but sometimes Messi just does what Messi does. I don’t think he was in the same stadium as the rest of us that night!
We can aim for the Champions League places, I think. The team is ready, we just need to show our best levels consistently. […] when I play FIFA on the PlayStation, if I don’t play as Villarreal, I play as Juve
I know I am going in the right direction I am happy just to be playing football and to see where that takes me. I always try to see the bigger picture, and to stay patient. I am not one who wants everything immediately. I am happy to take smaller steps on the way to the bigger goals. I just love to play. I love training. From the moment I wake up, I want to be kicking a ball. It is a joy for me.
2020 03 18 Retrieve
[How Chukwueze responds to recent decline could define career] Goals come with luck. I have had a couple of chances this season and I make attempts to convert them but you know you just have to keep trying. I’m actually not bothered because it is still a learning process for me and I know very soon what I have been practising will start manifesting
2020 04 21 Retrieve
[Villarreal forward Samuel Chukwueze has admitted that he supported Chelsea as a child] My favourite team in England is Chelsea. I was supporting Chelsea when I was young. When Chelsea lost that Champions League final against Manchester United, I was crying all through the night