Sports

May 23, 2024

How Nigerians inspire me to do more — Lookman

Ademola Lookman

Ademola Lookman

By Ayobami Okerinde

Super Eagles and Atalanta forward Ademola Lookman says the love and support he gets from Nigerians inspire him to do more as a player and person.

Lookman scored a stunning hat-trick on Wednesday night as Atalanta ended Bayer Leverkusen’s 51-match unbeaten run to win the Europa League final 3-0 on Wednesday and claim their first trophy in 61 years.

He became the first player to score a hat-trick in a European final since 1975 to secure Atalanta’s first-ever continental trophy.

Lookman, who was born in London, represented England at youth levels and was part of the squad that won the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup. The 26-year-old switched his allegiance to Nigeria and made his debut for the Super Eagles in 2022. 

“It’s incredible, and I have said this in earlier interviews: the unwavering support and love I get back home [Nigeria] is unbelievable; it gives me the motivation to try to inspire myself and try to evolve in different areas, not just in my game but as a person,” Lookman said after the game.

“It has taken me to a new level. Competing in AFCON this January, unfortunately, we lost in the final, but it catapulted us as Super Eagles, and the support back home is incredible.”

Speaking further, the Charlton Athletic youth academy product said he’s always dreamt of nights such as the game against Leverkusen.

His words: “Probably, I’ve always had the confidence to create and score goals and help my teammates.

“In the past few years, I’ve been able to take my game to a new level and show that on a more consistent basis.

“I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made, but this is just the beginning. I hope for more nights like this.”

Lookman also received praise from his manager, Gian Piero Gasperini.

“No one ever imagined he could make this much progress.

“He did something that will remain in the annals of history. He has carried himself as an incredible player and a match-winner.”