‘Unbelievable abuse’: Dessers details brutal Rangers welcome he had to overcome

Nigerian striker Cyriel Dessers has appealed to Rangers fans for a bit more understanding, following a rocky start to his Ibrox career.

The 29-year-old arrived from Cremonese in a €5 million deal, but faced early criticism for failing to immediately replicate his goalscoring form. Admittedly, some glaring missed chances during that period added fuel to the fire.

However, credit must be given to Rangers manager Philippe Clement, who remained steadfast in his belief in the Tongeren-born striker. This faith ultimately paid off handsomely. Dessers blossomed under Clement's guidance, repaying the manager's trust with a stellar season. He notched an impressive 22 goals and chipped in with 8 assists across all competitions, silencing his doubters and proving his worth to the Gers faithful.

“The start was not easy, not only for me, I think for the whole team, the whole club probably. I’ve been through a really hard period in that time personally. You arrive here and the amount of, I think that’s the right word, abuse, is unbelievable,” the former Feyenoord man told Sky Sports Scotland after their 5-2 victory over Dundee United.

'Unbelievable abuse': Cyriel Dessers details brutal Rangers welcome he had to overcome
Photo by Icon Sport

With a contract securing him at Ibrox until 2027 and a debut season that saw him bag 22 goals, Dessers is brimming with confidence. The Nigerian striker is convinced that better things are yet to come, and the Rangers fans who stuck by him through his early struggles will be richly rewarded for their patience.

“I always said it, let me settle down, let me move in, let me get used to this league, let me get used to this country, let me get everything in my head straight, then I will show that I think that I can be a good striker for Rangers. Those first months until this manager came I think I scored three goals. Since he’s here I think I’ve scored 18 plus five assists.

“I think those stats, tell my story. I think overall it hasn’t been a bad season personally for me but I don’t really care too much about personal accolades, I just want trophies and team victories. That’s what I work for every day,” the Nigeria international said.

Dessers and Rangers could end the season with silverware if they defeat Celtic in the Scottish Cup final that will be played on May 25, 2024.

Cyriel Dessers on fire: Ibrox hero and eyeing World Cup glory

Cyriel Dessers' flame continues to burn brightly at Ibrox. The Nigerian striker has already matched and surpassed his goal tally (20 goals) from his 2021/22 season with Feyenoord, reaching 22 goals in all competitions for Rangers. This impressive feat puts him just seven goals shy of his career-best 29 goals scored for NAC Breda in the Dutch second tier during the 2016/17 season.

Dessers' red-hot form is a massive boost for Rangers' silverware-chasing ambitions, with the league cup victory firmly in their sights. This could also be the key to unlocking his full potential with the Nigerian national team. Despite sporadic appearances since his debut in October 2020, Dessers' recent performances could finally solidify his place in the Super Eagles squad.

'Unbelievable abuse': Cyriel Dessers details brutal Rangers welcome he had to overcome
Photo by CAF

While he missed out on a spot in the recent Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2023) held in Ivory Coast, Dessers did receive a call-up for the March friendlies against Ghana and Mali. With established strikers like Victor Osimhen and Victor Boniface in the mix, securing a starting position might be challenging.

However, Dessers' current form could be enough to earn him a call-up for the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Benin in June. The chance to represent Nigeria on the biggest stage remains a tantalizing prospect for the in-form striker.

Dessers' form a beacon of hope for struggling Super Eagles

New Nigeria boss Finidi George has a reason to be optimistic: Cyriel Dessers' recent scoring spree. The in-form striker's hot streak at Rangers is a welcome sight for the national team, who desperately need him to replicate that form when World Cup qualifiers resume next month.

Dessers already displayed his capabilities under Finidi during the 2-1 victory over Ghana in the last international window, scoring with the coach at the helm (albeit temporarily). His current red-hot form makes him a crucial weapon in Nigeria's fight for qualification.

'Unbelievable abuse': Cyriel Dessers details brutal Rangers welcome he had to overcome
Photo by Icon Sport

The road to Qatar 2026, however, is far from smooth sailing for the Super Eagles. They currently find themselves in a precarious third position in Group C, having only managed two points from their opening two matches. To make matters worse, a surprising Rwanda squad currently leads the group with four points, leaving Nigeria facing an uphill battle.

Dessers' goalscoring prowess could be the difference between qualification and disappointment. The upcoming qualifiers against South Africa and Benin offer a critical opportunity for the Super Eagles to get their campaign back on track, and Finidi George could be counting on him to spearhead the attack and propel them towards victory.

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Toyosi Afolayan

Toyosi Afolayan is a sports journalist who breathes life into the games we love. He loves to combine insightful analysis with historical background, creating a richer understanding of sports. Afolayan's expertise ranges from captivating narratives to live broadcasts, captivating audiences across platforms like Ojbsport, AllNigeriaSoccer, TVC Entertainment, Bounce Networks, Kwara TV, ICIR, EaglesTracker, and NFF TV. His background in History and International Studies adds depth, revealing the connections between sports, politics, and national identity.