Rita Chikwelu - MadridLaLiga media

'Chikwelu is a very professional and hard-working player' - Madrid CFF coach Fernandez

Madrid CFF coach Oscar Fernandez has hailed Rita Chikwelu for her industrious contribution to the Spanish team this season.

After almost a decade in Sweden, Chikwelu joined the Spanish outfit from Damallsvenskan side Kristianstads on an initial six-month contract before signing a one-year extension last summer.

The Nigerian, who turned 33 on March 6, has scored five goals in 25 league outings for the Spanish capital-based outfit since her arrival in Spain in January 2020.

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This season, the Super Falcons star has scored once in 18 appearances so far, with her only goal coming against Real Betis and has continued to feature prominently in the team's current campaign.   

"Rita is one of the most important players in the squad, both on and off the field," Fernandez told Goal.

"She is a very professional and hard-working player, but above all, she is a very good person and is very well-liked by all the players and the coaching staff. 

"It is a privilege to work with her every day."

On her return from the international break, she had recently starred in Madrid's1-1 draw with Real Sociedad, the 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao 1-0, and a 2-2 draw against Logrono.

During the break, Chikwelu returned to the Nigeria fold for the first time since 2019 and shone brightly as the team became the first African side to win the Turkish Women's Cup last month.

After 20 games this season, Madrid are unbeaten in eight consecutive games, sitting in the fifth position on the Spanish Primera Iberdrola table, with 41 points, although with a game in hand.

On his side's fantastic run of form, Fernandez opened up on the secret behind that: "We [Madrid CFF] are on a good run with 20 out of a possible 24 points.

"The team is working very well and we have managed to create a united and very competitive group.

"We have been working with many players for more than a year and this makes everything easier.

"Sports projects take time to start working, the process is very important and in this last year we have done a lot of things right and now we are reaping the fruits of that work." 

Fernandez's side are eyeing a Women's Champions League ticket this season and will be counting on Chikwelu's experience to help the side achieve their dreams.

Madrid CFF will hope to continue with their impressive push for a European place on home soil when they welcome Eibar on Sunday.