Home Profile in Excellence Cyriel Kolawole Dessers Biography and Profile

Cyriel Kolawole Dessers Biography and Profile

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Cyriel Kolawole Dessers (born 8 December 1994) is a professional footballer who plays as a forward for Scottish Premiership club Rangers. Born in Belgium, he plays for the Nigeria national team.

Dessers has spent the majority of his club career playing in Belgian and Dutch football. He was the top scorer in the Eredivisie in the 2019–20 season, while playing for Heracles Almelo. He was the top scorer in the 2021–22 UEFA Europa Conference League and was named in the competition’s Team of the Season, while playing for Feyenoord.

Dessers qualified to play for Nigeria at international level because of his Nigerian mother. He made his senior international debut in October 2020.

Club career

OH Leuven

Dessers joined OH Leuven‘s youth system from K.S.K. Tongeren at the age of 16 in 2011.[2] He had previously played youth football for FC De Zwaluw Vechmaal, Union FC Rutten and Sint-Truiden.[3] He began studying law at university (KU Leuven) while playing for OH Leuven’s youth teams.[2] During the 2013–14 season, Dessers stood out for OH Leuven’s under-19 and reserve teams, scoring 21 goals in 21 reserve games by March.[4] With OHL in danger of relegation and several first-team strikers either out of shape, injured or suspended, he was given his first minutes in the first-team in a 3–2 away loss against Mons.

Lokeren

In April 2014, Dessers signed a two-year deal with Lokeren.

NAC Breda

In July 2016, he signed for Eerste Divisie club NAC Breda on a contract until the summer of 2019.[7] On 28 May 2017, they were promoted to the Eredivisie after a 4–1 victory over NEC, in which Dessers scored three goals. He finished the season with 29 goals in 40 matches.[9]

Dessers with Lokeren in 2014

FC Utrecht

In July 2017, Dessers moved to FC Utrecht, agreeing a contract for three years with an option for an additional year.[10]

Heracles Almelo

Dessers joined Heracles Almelo in July 2019.[11] After the 2019–20 Eredivisie season was abandoned, he was jointly awarded the top goalscorer award alongside Steven Berghuis, with 15 goals each.

Genk and loan to Feyenoord

On 30 June 2020, Dessers moved to Genk on a four-year deal.[13]

On 31 August 2021, Dessers returned to the Netherlands to join Feyenoord on loan with an option to buy. He scored his first goal for the club on 19 September, scoring Feyenoord’s fourth goal in a 4–0 away win against PSV. On 1 June 2022, Feyenoord announced that they had opted not to exercise the option to purchase Dessers’ contract.

Cremonese

On 10 August 2022, Dessers signed for Italian club Cremonese.

Rangers

On 6 July 2023, Dessers joined Scottish Premiership club Rangers for a fee of around £4.3 million. He made his debut for the club on 5 August 2023, starting in a 1–0 defeat away to Kilmarnock. Four days later, Dessers scored his first goal for Rangers, against Swiss club Servette in a Champions League qualifying tie.[21]

International career

Born in Belgium to a Belgian father and Nigerian mother, Dessers chose to represent Nigeria at international level in December 2019. Earlier in his career, he was called up to the Belgium under-21 national team for a game against Moldova, but he was an unused substitute.

On 4 March 2020, he was called up by Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr as part of the team players invited for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixtures against Sierra Leone.Dessers debuted in a friendly 1–1 draw with Tunisia on 13 October 2020.

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