Nigeria is a powerhouse when it comes to footballing nations across Africa. It is no surprise that it has won the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) three times, which makes it the fourth-most successful national team in the competition. Over the years, the country has gifted mesmerizing players across the field to the world of football.
Players that come from Nigeria are skillful, persistent and ambitious to win trophies wherever they go. They are also popular among the fans for their personalities away from the game. For many decades, legendary players from Nigeria have played for the national team and various top clubs across Europe and the rest of the world.
Even today, the country has multiple high-quality players that are playing in top leagues around the world. Here is a look at the top 10 most talked about Nigerian footballers of all time:
Victor Osimhen is one of the finest players from Nigeria today. The 23-year-old is valued at €65m and the valuation is only going to increase in future, such is his talent. At the moment, the striker is playing for Napoli in the Italian Serie A, following a move from LOSC Lille in 2020. He is already an U17 World Cup and U23 AFCON winner with Nigeria.
Ahmed Musa is one of the longest-serving players for the Nigerian national football team. The skipper has played 106 times for the Super Eagles, the highest in history. He is a popular figure in Nigeria and currently plays for Karagümrük in Turkey’s top flight. Musa also featured in the Premier League for Leicester City.
Obafemi Martins became extremely popular during his time with Newcastle United. He moved to England from Inter Milan in 2006 and also played for other European clubs like Wolfsburg, Rubin Kazan, Birmingham City and more. Furthermore, the forward was popular amongst the FIFA video game players due to his speed and physicality. Martins won the Italian Serie A once with Inter and also won the League Cup with Birmingham among other trophies.
Kelechi Iheanacho was considered one of Europe’s best upcoming talents when he was a Manchester City player. In search of more gametime, the forward signed for Leicester City where he has won one FA Cup and a Community Shield. He has also won one League Cup winners medal with MCFC. He was part of the Nigerian team that won the U17 World Cup.
Joseph Yobo played extensively in the Premier League and became popular across the world. It was his skillset as a defender that saw him play 227 matches in the English top flight. The centre-back also won two Turkish titles and domestic cups with Fenerbahce. He was also a crucial figure in Nigeria’s AFCON triumph at the 2013 edition.
Nwankwo Kanu is one of the few Nigerian footballers who have won the UEFA Champions League. He won the competition during his time at Ajax. He is also a two-time Premier League winner with Arsenal FC. The forward won the African footballer of the year award twice and played 87 times for the national team. Kanu also won the Olympic gold with Nigeria and has multiple trophies with Inter Milan and Portsmouth at the club level.
Vincent Enyeama is only the second player to rack up more than a century of appearances for the Nigeria national team. The custodian is a popular figure back home and is most notably known for his time with LOSC Lille. He won the AFCON with Nigeria in 2013. He has also represented Nigeria at the FIFA World Cup in 2002, 2010 and 2014.
Rashidi Yekini was regarded as one of the most sublime forward during his playing days. The striker holds the record for scoring most number of goals for the Nigeria national football team with 37 strikes. Winner of the 1993 African footballer of the year award, Yekini helped Nigeria win the 1994 AFCON.
John Obi Mikel remains one of the most notable Nigerian footballers due to his immense success at both the club and international level. The midfielder made 89 appearances for the Super Eagles and helped them win the AFCON in 2013. On the other hand, Mikel won 11 trophies with Chelsea, including the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Europa League and two Premier League titles.
They say Jay Jay Okocha was so good that they had to name him twice. The legendary player from Nigeria was exquisite on the ball, could create scoring chances single-handedly and had the knack of scoring some sensational goals. At the club level, he played for teams like Eintracht Frankfurt, Fenerbache, Paris Saint-Germain, Bolton, Hull City and more. The attacker was crucial in helping Nigeria win the AFCON in 1994 and the Olympic gold in 1995-96.
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