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Obafemi Martins

Obafemi Akinwunmi Martins (born 28 October 1984) is a Nigerian Association football who plays as a Forward (association football) for FC Rubin Kazan and the Nigeria national football team. Obafemi Martins is known for Obafemi Martins speed on the ball.

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Obafemi Martins biography

Obafemi Akinwunmi Martins (born 28 October 1984) is a Nigerian Association football who plays as a Forward (association football) for FC Rubin Kazan and the Nigeria national football team. Obafemi Martins is known for Obafemi Martins speed on the ball.
After leaving Nigeria for Italy at age 16, Obafemi Martins has since played for a number of List of top-division football clubs in UEFA countries. Obafemi Martins began Obafemi Martins senior career in 2002 at the Italian Serie A club F.C. Internazionale Milano, before moving to the English Premier League club Newcastle United F.C. in 2006, and then the German Fußball-Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg in 2009. Having joined Russian Premier League side Rubin Kazan in July 2010, they loan (sports) Obafemi Martins to Birmingham City F.C. in January 2011.

In club football, Martins has won the Italian Serie A title, the Coppa Italia (twice), and the Supercoppa Italiana, all with Inter. With Birmingham Obafemi Martins scored the winning goal in the 2011 Football League Cup Final. Obafemi Martins has played European football with Inter, Newcastle and Wolfsburg, winning the UEFA Intertoto Cup with Newcastle. Obafemi Martins highest scoring league seasons so far have seen Obafemi Martins score 11 goals in both the 2004–05 Serie A, and 2006–07 FA Premier League. In international football, Martins has been in the Nigerian squad for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006 Africa Cup of Nations, 2008 Africa Cup of Nations and 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, and for the FIFA World Cup in 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Martins had two brothers who also played football professionally. Obafemi Martins elder brother, Oladipupo Olarotini Martins played for AC Reggiana of Italy, FK Partizan of Serbia and Innsbrucker AC of Austria before having to retire from the game because of heart problems in 2009. Obafemi Martins died on August 8, 2011 of a suspected heart attack in Lagos, Nigeria. Martins' younger brother is John Ronan Martins. The name 'Obafemi' translates literally to 'the king loves me' in the Yoruba language.

Club career

Early years

Born in Remedika, Martins joined the local football club F.C. Ebedei, having been scouted by manager Churchill Oliseh while playing on the streets of Obafemi Martins hometown. After a year with the club, Italian Serie C side A.C. Reggiana 1919 made a move for the player. After a two-month trial, Martins and fellow Ebedei teammate Stephen Makinwa signed youth contracts with the club in 2000. Obafemi Martins first season in Italy saw Martins break into the first team squad, and later in the year Serie A sides Perugia and Internazionale made offers for the forward (football).


A Euro750,000 transfer fee took Martins to Internazionale in 2001, and in Obafemi Martins first season Obafemi Martins scored 23 goals for the youth team, helping them to the Italy Under-18 title. Obafemi Martins form for the youth side led to Obafemi Martins first-team league debut the following season, in a match against Parma F.C. in December 2002. Obafemi Martins didn't become a regular member of the first team squad until the 2002–03 season. Obafemi Martins played in Obafemi Martins first UEFA Champions League match that season, and came on as a substitute against Obafemi Martins future employers, Newcastle United, at St James' Park. Obafemi Martins scored Obafemi Martins first Champions League goal in a match against Bayer 04 Leverkusen to secure Inter's place in the quarter finals; footage of Obafemi Martins celebratory somersaults were subsequently used by UEFA to advertise the following season's competition. Obafemi Martins scored again in the semi-final match against Inter's arch-rivals A.C. Milan, but couldn't prevent the club losing out on away goals to the competition's eventual winners. Obafemi Martins ended the season with one league goal in four games.

Martins signed a long-term contract with Inter Milan in 2005 which ran until 2010 and was worth around €2.5 million annually. Obafemi Martins good form for Inter continued and Obafemi Martins was called to play in the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations for Nigeria.

Although Obafemi Martins had some success with Inter, scoring 28 goals for the club in 88 league games as well as 11 goals in European competitions, Obafemi Martins was sold in August 2006. This was due to Inter bringing in two new strikers; first Argentinian Hernán Crespo was brought in on loan (sports) from Chelsea F.C. and then the Swede Zlatan Ibrahimović was bought by Inter from Juventus F.C..

Newcastle United

With Martins handing in a transfer request in August 2006, English Premier League club Newcastle United F.C. completed a deal with Inter for the striker on 24 August 2006 for €15 million, with Martins signing a five year deal. Obafemi Martins was paraded in front of the Geordie fans before their UEFA cup tie against FK Ventspils, and inherited the club's cherished number 9 shirt, vacated after the retirement of the club-record goalscorer Alan Shearer in April.

Martins made Obafemi Martins debut on 27 August, in the 2–0 defeat to Aston Villa F.C., in which Obafemi Martins was stretchered off with a knee injury. It turned out that Martins suffered a severe dead leg and internal bleeding. Obafemi Martins unremarkable first few appearances for Newcastle caused manager Glenn Roeder to speak out in Obafemi Martins defence.

However, on 17 September, Martins scored Obafemi Martins first goal for Newcastle. It was the second goal in a 2–0 victory over West Ham United F.C. at Boleyn Ground, and from there Obafemi Martins goalscoring form began to improve steadily.

Reports on 11 January 2007, indicated that Chelsea F.C. were considering making an offer for Martins services after Obafemi Martins impressive form. These reports were later rubbished by Roeder and Martins himself.

On 14 January, in a 2–3 away win against Tottenham Hotspur F.C., Martins' 20-yard shot rocketed into the net. This strike was clocked by Sky Sports at a speed of 84 mph (135 km/h), making it unofficially the ninth hardest shot ever recorded in football according to the Guardian website. This was Obafemi Martins tenth goal for Newcastle. Martins ended Obafemi Martins first season on Tyneside with 17 goals in 46 games.

Obafemi Martins second season was somewhat mixed. With new manager Sam Allardyce preferring to play Michael Owen and Mark Viduka up front, Martins found himself being used as an impact substitute for the first half of the season. Despite this Obafemi Martins managed to score consistently, and when Allardyce was sacked and Kevin Keegan was appointed, Martins found himself being used as part of a three pronged attack along with Owen and Viduka. Martins scored less goals in Obafemi Martins second season with Newcastle, mainly due to Obafemi Martins no longer being the focal point of all their attacks as Obafemi Martins was in Obafemi Martins first season with them, as well as Obafemi Martins season being interrupted with the African Cup of Nations participation with Nigeria in December.

Martins scored six goals in 12 league games during the first half of the 2008–09 season before a torn hamstring ruled Obafemi Martins out for several games. It was confirmed on 7 January 2009, that Martins would undergo hernia surgery in Germany the next Monday. Obafemi Martins was operated on by renowned specialist Dr. Ulrike Muschaweck. Obafemi Martins did make it back in time for the last two games of the season, scoring in a relegation six-pointer derby against Middlesbrough F.C.. However, Obafemi Martins could not stop Newcastle being relegated to the Championship. Obafemi Martins initially reiterated Obafemi Martins desire to stay and help the club return to the Premier League for the 2009-10 season, but Obafemi Martins eventually left for VfL Wolfsburg. Obafemi Martins last game was on a preseason friendly against Leyton Orient F.C, which Newcastle lost 6-1.

During Obafemi Martins three-year spell on Tyneside, Martins amassed 35 goals in all competitions from 104 games.


On 29 July 2009 Newcastle accepted a £9 million bid from Fußball-Bundesliga champions VfL Wolfsburg, the transfer was confirmed on 31 July with Martins signing a four year contract. The four year deal was finalised on August 12, with the club officially unveiling the player to the press and supporters. For Obafemi Martins debut, Martins came on as a second half substitute against FC Koln at the Rhein Energie Stadion, with Obafemi Martins team deadlocked at 1-1. Obafemi Martins helped in the buildup to the second goal and capped off Obafemi Martins first appearance in the Bundesliga with a well-taken goal after dribbling past two onrushing defenders and then cooly finishing from six yards out, slotting the ball past the FC Koln keeper to the far post.

Rubin Kazan

On 9 July 2010, Martins was sold for a reported €17 million to reigning Russian Premier League champions FC Rubin Kazan. Obafemi Martins signed a three-year contract and told BBC Sport: "I am joining a team of champions and I hope to bring my best to the club to make them even greater." Martins' agent, Nicola Walter, revealed that Rubin met all of the player's requirements and that manager Kurban Berdyev had a "massive role" for Obafemi Martins to play, following the departure of striker Aleksandr Bukharov. Martins was able to make Obafemi Martins debut with Rubin after 1 August, when the transfer window was opened.

Loan to Birmingham City

Following the birth of Obafemi Martins child, Martins requested a move to England to be nearer to Obafemi Martins family. On 31 January 2011, Obafemi Martins joined Premier League club Birmingham City F.C. on loan until the end of the season, with the option of a £5 million permanent deal in the summer of 2011. Obafemi Martins made Obafemi Martins debut, which had been delayed by the formalities of obtaining a working visa, in the starting eleven against Stoke City on 12 February; Obafemi Martins played for 75 minutes as Birmingham won 1–0. Obafemi Martins scored Obafemi Martins first goal for the club, 17 minutes into the FA Cup fifth-round defeat of Sheffield Wednesday, after a strong run.

Martins scored the winning goal in the 2011 Football League Cup Final as Birmingham beat Arsenal F.C 2–1 at Wembley Stadium, having been brought on as an 83rd-minute substitute. With one minute remaining in normal time, there was a moment of confusion between Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny and defender Laurent Koscielny as they attempted to deal with a headed knock down from Birmingham's Nikola Žigić. Martins passed the resulting loose ball into the empty net from near the penalty spot. Martins described it as "the easiest goal I've ever scored in my career". After two more Premier League appearances, Obafemi Martins spent several weeks out with an injury eventually diagnosed as a stress fracture of the left tibia. After surgery in late April, Obafemi Martins faced a recovery period estimated at three to four months.

International career

Martins has scored seventeen goals in 32 appearances for Nigeria national football team. Obafemi Martins was a part of the Nigerian team that finished third in the 2006 African Cup of Nations. Martins scored two goals in the competition, both coming against Senegal national football team in the first round.

Obafemi Martins future for the national team has been placed in doubt on numerous occasions after separate incidents of controversy. In August 2006, the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) website had Obafemi Martins date of birth down as 1 May 1978, which would have made Obafemi Martins 28 years of age rather than 21. The NFA soon confirmed that it had been an administrative error and apologised for the confusion it had caused. However Martins threatened to quit playing for the national team after the blunder had initially put Obafemi Martins move to Newcastle in doubt.

On 6 February 2007, Martins failed to turn up for the 4–1 friendly defeat against Ghana national football team, despite being ordered to play. Obafemi Martins later explained Obafemi Martins absence was due to the fact Obafemi Martins had travelled to Lagos in order to visit Obafemi Martins sick mother.
The Nigerian caretaker coach Augustine Eguavoen was furious with Martins and threatened to ban Obafemi Martins from the national team. On 14 February 2007, Martins apologised for missing the game but said Obafemi Martins believed Obafemi Martins mother's health was more important. Obafemi Martins also said that Obafemi Martins would be available to play for Nigeria in the future. Obafemi Martins made Obafemi Martins return to the national side on 24 March 2007, playing the full match against Uganda national football team in an African Cup of Nations Qualifying match and won.

Following the end of Nigeria's 2008 Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign, Nigeria faced Mexico in Ciudad Juárez for a friendly match. Martins scored two goals in a 2–2 draw.

On 17 November 2007, Martins captained Nigeria for the first time, in a friendly match against Australia for Obafemi Martins 19th appearance. On 12 November 2009 Obafemi Martins scored a spectacular goal in the 83rd minute against Kenya national football team in Nairobi, thus ensuring Nigeria's qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. At the finals in South Africa, Martins played in just two games for a total of 71 minutes, without scoring. In the first group game, Obafemi Martins came on as a 52nd minute substitute for Victor Obinna. In the third game Obafemi Martins was used as a 57th minute substitute for Nwankwo Kanu. Nigeria exited the tournament bottom of 2010 FIFA World Cup Group B with only one point.


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