'I did not sleep at all' - Super Eagles legend Amuneke admits he was excited to join BarcelonaPublished: February 27, 2023
Nigeria legend and 1994 Africa Cup of Nations-winning winger Emmanuel Amuneke has admitted that he was over the moon after sealing a transfer to La Liga giants Barcelona in 1996.
Amuneke earned a move to Barcelona after putting himself in the shop window at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, where he helped the original Dream Team to win Africa's first gold medal in the football event of the Olympic Games.
One of Nigeria's marquee players in the 1990s and also a onetime African Footballer of the Year, Amuneke played in Zamalek for three years before making the leap to Portuguese football with Sporting Lisbon.
He was with the Portuguese setup for two years before joining Barcelona in exchange for three million euros.
At the Camp Nou, he shared a dressing room with some legendary Blaugrana players such as Luis Enrique, Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Pep Guardiola and Luis Figo.
Asked how he felt on the night he knew he was joining Barcelona from Sporting Lisbon, Amuneke said to The Punch : "I was very excited joining the biggest team in Europe at that time and to play under Louis Van Gaal was one experience I was looking forward to.
"On the eve of the day I was to sign for Barcelona, I did not sleep at all and in the morning I was nervous when the entourage did not come on time to pick me.
"I thought the deal will fall through but they came and I was glad to have played for the team.
"I am glad to have played for Barcelona in my active days in football, but the present generation is far better than my era when the likes of Pep Guardiola, Ronaldo de Lima, Patrick Kluivert and Rivaldo were the star players of the side."
In his four-year association with Barcelona, Amuneke made only 26 appearances due to injuries and registered one goal and two assists in all competitions.
The 52-year-old Amuneke is currently the head coach of Zambian Super League side, Zanaco FC.
Photo Credit : fcbarcelona.com
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