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Why I dumped Italy’s Serie A for Turkey: Super Eagles star Ogenyi Onazi

By News Express on 03/08/2016

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Nigeria international midfielder Ogenyi Onazi says he needed to move from Italian club Lazio as he joined Turkish side Trabzonspor.

The 23-year-old moves on a four-year deal after five years at Lazio, scoring seven goals in 110 appearances.

Despite having a contract at the Serie A outfit until summer 2018, the Super Eagle insists it was time to leave Rome and seek pastures new elsewhere.

“I left Lazio for personal reasons,” Onazi told BBC Sport.

He made 20 appearances in all competitions for Lazio last season as a lack of form and injury hampered him, but was a more regular starter when Simone Inzaghi took over as coach in April.

“Importantly I needed to make this move to clear my head and be happy playing football again.

“It might be difficult for some people to understand my decision but this is a step forward in my career.

“The Lazio coach [Simone Inzaghi] spoke to the management about keeping me. I was even offered a contract extension to stay but Trabzonspor provides a new lease of life.

“I thank the Lazio fans, managers, players and backroom staff at the club who supported me from my Primavera [youth team] days for their love and incredible affection.

“I will always be a Lazio fan because the club gave me the platform to be the player I am today.”

Despite the recent security concerns in Turkey, Onazi has quickly dismissed fears surrounding his new environment

“Personally, I think security is same everywhere and nowhere is perfectly safe in life so we just keep praying that God will guide and protect us wherever we go,” he added.

After a proposed loan move to German side Werder Bremen collapsed in January, his agent - former Lazio and Nigeria striker Ayodele Makinwa – says the switch to the Black Sea outfit will improve Onazi as a player.

“He desperately wanted a change and new motivation,” said Makinwa.

“Trabzonspor is one of the biggest clubs in Turkey and it is a stepping stone towards achieving his goals as a professional footballer.

“Joining a club fighting for the title will challenge and push him to the next level.

“He will definitely be one of the leaders in the team and this should serve as a motivation to achieve what he wants.”

After representing Nigeria at youth level, the defensive-cum-attacking midfielder has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the last few years since making his senior debut in October 2012.

He played in all four of his country’s games at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

As well as winning the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Onazi has made a total of 38 appearances for the three-time African champions and scored once.

•Text courtesy of BBC. Photo shows Ogenyi Onazi.

Source News Express

Posted 03/08/2016 1:46:29 PM


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