Obafemi Martins

Obafemi Martins

Overview
Obafemi Akinwunmi Martins (born 28 October 1984) is a Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

n footballer who plays as a striker for Rubin Kazan
FC Rubin Kazan
FC Rubin Kazan is a Russian association football club based in the city of Kazan . Rubin won the Russian Premier League championship in 2008 and 2009.-History:...

 and the Nigeria national team
Nigeria national football team
The Nigeria national football team, nicknamed the Super Eagles or Green Eagles, is the national team of Nigeria and is controlled by the Nigeria Football Federation . The team has ranked as high as 5th in the FIFA World Rankings, in April 1994...

. He is known for his speed on the ball.
After leaving Nigeria for Italy at age 16, he has since played for a number of top-division clubs around Europe. He began his senior career in 2002 at the Italian Serie A
Serie A
Serie A , now called Serie A TIM due to sponsorship by Telecom Italia, is a professional league competition for football clubs located at the top of the Italian football league system and has been operating for over eighty years since 1929. It had been organized by Lega Calcio until 2010, but a new...

 club Inter Milan
F.C. Internazionale Milano
Football Club Internazionale Milano, often referred to as Internazionale or simply Inter, is a professional Italian football club based in Milan, Italy. Outside Italy, the club is often called Inter Milan. They are the reigning FIFA Club World champions and Coppa Italia holders.Inter have always...

, before moving to the English Premier League club Newcastle
Newcastle United F.C.
Newcastle United Football Club is an English professional association football club based in Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear. The club was founded in 1892 by the merger of Newcastle East End and Newcastle West End, and has played at its current home ground, St James' Park, since the merger...

 in 2006, and then the German Bundesliga
Fußball-Bundesliga
The Fußball-Bundesliga is a professional association football league in Germany. At the top of Germany's football league system, it is the country's primary football competition. It is contested by 18 teams and operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the 2. Bundesliga...

 club Wolfsburg
VfL Wolfsburg
VfL Wolfsburg is a professional German association football club based in Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony, who play in the Bundesliga football competition. Wolfsburg have won the Bundesliga once in their history, in the 2008–09 season, and were DFB-Pokal runners-up in 1995. The current head coach is Felix...

 in 2009.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Obafemi Martins'
Start a new discussion about 'Obafemi Martins'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Quotations

I am happy at Newcastle. I love the city and the people. Our fans are the best in the world. Even if we are losing or not playing well there are still 52,000 backing us and I respect that.

On life at Newcastle.
Encyclopedia
Obafemi Akinwunmi Martins (born 28 October 1984) is a Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

n footballer who plays as a striker for Rubin Kazan
FC Rubin Kazan
FC Rubin Kazan is a Russian association football club based in the city of Kazan . Rubin won the Russian Premier League championship in 2008 and 2009.-History:...

 and the Nigeria national team
Nigeria national football team
The Nigeria national football team, nicknamed the Super Eagles or Green Eagles, is the national team of Nigeria and is controlled by the Nigeria Football Federation . The team has ranked as high as 5th in the FIFA World Rankings, in April 1994...

. He is known for his speed on the ball.
After leaving Nigeria for Italy at age 16, he has since played for a number of top-division clubs around Europe. He began his senior career in 2002 at the Italian Serie A
Serie A
Serie A , now called Serie A TIM due to sponsorship by Telecom Italia, is a professional league competition for football clubs located at the top of the Italian football league system and has been operating for over eighty years since 1929. It had been organized by Lega Calcio until 2010, but a new...

 club Inter Milan
F.C. Internazionale Milano
Football Club Internazionale Milano, often referred to as Internazionale or simply Inter, is a professional Italian football club based in Milan, Italy. Outside Italy, the club is often called Inter Milan. They are the reigning FIFA Club World champions and Coppa Italia holders.Inter have always...

, before moving to the English Premier League club Newcastle
Newcastle United F.C.
Newcastle United Football Club is an English professional association football club based in Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear. The club was founded in 1892 by the merger of Newcastle East End and Newcastle West End, and has played at its current home ground, St James' Park, since the merger...

 in 2006, and then the German Bundesliga
Fußball-Bundesliga
The Fußball-Bundesliga is a professional association football league in Germany. At the top of Germany's football league system, it is the country's primary football competition. It is contested by 18 teams and operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the 2. Bundesliga...

 club Wolfsburg
VfL Wolfsburg
VfL Wolfsburg is a professional German association football club based in Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony, who play in the Bundesliga football competition. Wolfsburg have won the Bundesliga once in their history, in the 2008–09 season, and were DFB-Pokal runners-up in 1995. The current head coach is Felix...

 in 2009. Having joined Russian Premier League
Russian Premier League
The Russian Premier League , currently called SOGAZ Russian Football Championship due to sponsorship reasons, is the top division of Russian football. There are 16 teams in the competition...

 side Rubin Kazan in July 2010, they loaned him to Birmingham City
Birmingham City F.C.
Birmingham City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Birmingham, England. Formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, they became Small Heath in 1888, then Birmingham in 1905, finally becoming Birmingham City in 1943.They were relegated at the end of the...

 in January 2011.

In club football, Martins has won the Italian Serie A title, the Italian Cup
Coppa Italia
The Coppa Italia is an Italian football annual cup competition. Its first edition was held in 1922, but the second champions were not crowned until 1936. Roma and Juventus lead the way with nine wins. Roma has contested more finals, 16, while Torino and Juventus follow with 13...

 (twice), and the Super Cup
Supercoppa Italiana
The Supercoppa Italiana is a pre-season football competition held the week before the season begins in Italy every year. It is contested by the winners of the Serie A and the Coppa Italia in the previous season, as a curtain raiser to the new season. It is usually played at the home of the Serie A...

, all with Inter. With Birmingham he scored the winning goal in the 2011 Football League Cup Final
2011 Football League Cup Final
The 2011 Football League Cup Final was the final match of the 2010–11 Football League Cup, the 51st season of the Football League Cup, a football competition for the 92 teams in the Premier League and the Football League. The match was contested by Arsenal and Birmingham City, at Wembley Stadium in...

. He has played European football
European football
European football is a colloquial term referring to any international football club competition that is organised by UEFA. Any club that wishes to participate in European football must qualify through their respective domestic league or domestic cup competitions...

 with Inter, Newcastle and Wolfsburg, winning the UEFA Intertoto Cup
UEFA Intertoto Cup
The UEFA Intertoto Cup, also abbreviated as UI Cup and originally called the International Football Cup, was a summer football competition for European clubs that had not qualified for one of the two major UEFA competitions, the Champions League and the UEFA Cup. The competition was discontinued...

 with Newcastle. His highest scoring league seasons so far have seen him score 11 goals in both the 2004–05 Serie A, and 2006–07 English Premier League. In international football, Martins has been in the Nigerian squad for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006, 2008 and 2010, and for the FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup
The FIFA World Cup, often simply the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association , the sport's global governing body...

 in 2010
2010 FIFA World Cup
The 2010 FIFA World Cup was the 19th FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It took place in South Africa from 11 June to 11 July 2010...

.

Martins had two brothers who also played football professionally. His elder brother, Oladipupo Olarotini Martins
Oladipupo Olarotini Martins
Oladipupo Olarotimi Martins , was a professional Nigerian footballer who last played for University of Ado Ekiti, a non professional side....

 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. He died on August 8th, 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
Yoruba language
Yorùbá is a Niger–Congo language spoken in West Africa by approximately 20 million speakers. The native tongue of the Yoruba people, it is spoken, among other languages, in Nigeria, Benin, and Togo and in communities in other parts of Africa, Europe and the Americas...

.

Early years


Born in Remedika, Martins joined the local football club F.C. Ebedei
F.C. Ebedei
FC Ebedei is a Nigerian football club based in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State after moving from Lagos in 2001. They currently play in Nigeria National League, the second tier of Nigerian football....

, having been scouted by manager Churchill Oliseh
Churchill Oliseh
Churchill Oliseh is a Nigerian football manager who currently manages FC Ebedei. He is the father of Sekou Oliseh and brother of Azubuike Oliseh, Egutu Oliseh and Sunday Oliseh....

 while playing on the streets of his hometown. After a year with the club, Italian Serie C
Serie C
The Lega Italiana Calcio Professionistico , commonly known as Lega Pro , is the governing body that runs the third and fourth highest football divisions in Italy, the Prima Divisione and Seconda Divisione respectively. It also includes the sole professional club of San Marino...

 side A.C. Reggiana
A.C. Reggiana 1919
Associazione Calcio Reggiana 1919 is an Italian association football club, based in Reggio Emilia, Emilia-Romagna. The club was founded in 1919 as A.C. Reggiana and refounded in July 2005 as Reggio Emilia F.C., but it was renamed A.C. Reggiana 1919 soon after the start of the 2005–06 season. The...

 made a move for the player. After a two-month trial, Martins and fellow Ebedei teammate Stephen Makinwa
Stephen Makinwa
Stephen Ayodele Makinwa is a Nigerian football striker, who is currently playing for Lazio. Makinwa also plays for the Nigerian national team...

 signed youth contracts with the club in 2000. His first season in Italy saw Martins break into the first team squad, and later in the year Serie A
Serie A
Serie A , now called Serie A TIM due to sponsorship by Telecom Italia, is a professional league competition for football clubs located at the top of the Italian football league system and has been operating for over eighty years since 1929. It had been organized by Lega Calcio until 2010, but a new...

 sides Perugia
Perugia
Perugia is the capital city of the region of Umbria in central Italy, near the River Tiber, and the capital of the province of Perugia. The city is located about north of Rome. It covers a high hilltop and part of the valleys around the area....

 and Inter made offers for the forward.

Internazionale


A
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

750,000 transfer fee took Martins to Internazionale in 2001, and in his first season he scored 23 goals for the youth team, helping them to the Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 Under-18 title. His form for the youth side led to his first-team league debut the following season, in a match against Parma
Parma F.C.
Parma Football Club , commonly referred to as just Parma, is an Italian professional football club based in Parma, Emilia–Romagna that will compete in Serie A for the 2011–12 season, having finished in twelfth position last season. Founded as Verdi Foot Ball Club in July 1913, the club changed its...

 in December 2002. He didn't become a regular member of the first team squad until the 2002–03 season. He played in his first UEFA Champions League
UEFA Champions League
The UEFA Champions League, known simply the Champions League and originally known as the European Champion Clubs' Cup or European Cup, is an annual international club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations since 1955 for the top football clubs in Europe. It...

 match that season, and came on as a substitute against his future employers, Newcastle United, at St. James' Park. He scored his first Champions League goal in a match against Bayer 04 Leverkusen to secure Inter's place in the quarter finals; footage of his celebratory somersaults were subsequently used by UEFA to advertise the following season's competition. He scored again in the semi-final match against Inter's arch-rivals A.C. Milan
A.C. Milan
Associazione Calcio Milan, commonly referred to as A.C. Milan or simply Milan , is a professional Italian football club based in Milan, Lombardy, that plays in the Serie A. Milan was founded in 1899 by English lace-maker Herbert Kilpin and businessman Alfred Edwards among others...

, but couldn't prevent the club losing out on away goals to the competition's eventual winners. He 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. His good form for Inter continued and he was called to play in the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations for Nigeria.

Although he had some success with Inter, scoring 28 goals for the club in 88 league games as well as 11 goals in European competitions, he was sold in August 2006. This was due to Inter bringing in two new strikers; first Argentinian Hernán Crespo
Hernán Crespo
Hernán Jorge Crespo is an Argentine footballer who plays for Parma in the Italian Serie A. Crespo has scored over 300 goals in a career spanning 18 years. His honors include an Olympic Games silver medal, a Copa Libertadores, an English Premier League title and three Scudettos. He was topscorer in...

 was brought in on loan from Chelsea
Chelsea F.C.
Chelsea Football Club are an English football club based in West London. Founded in 1905, they play in the Premier League and have spent most of their history in the top tier of English football. Chelsea have been English champions four times, FA Cup winners six times and League Cup winners four...

 and then the Swede Zlatan Ibrahimović
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan Ibrahimović is a Swedish footballer who plays as a striker for Serie A club Milan and the Swedish national team for which he is captain....

 was bought by Inter from Juventus
Juventus F.C.
Juventus Football Club S.p.A. , commonly referred to as Juventus and colloquially as Juve , are a professional Italian association football club based in Turin, Piedmont...

.

Newcastle United



With Martins handing in a transfer request in August 2006, English Premier League club Newcastle United
Newcastle United F.C.
Newcastle United Football Club is an English professional association football club based in Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear. The club was founded in 1892 by the merger of Newcastle East End and Newcastle West End, and has played at its current home ground, St James' Park, since the merger...

 completed a deal with Inter for the striker on 24 August 2006 for €15 million, with Martins signing a five year deal. He was paraded in front of the Geordie
Geordie
Geordie is a regional nickname for a person from the Tyneside region of the north east of England, or the name of the English-language dialect spoken by its inhabitants...

 fans before their UEFA cup tie against FK Ventspils
FK Ventspils
FK Ventspils is a Latvian football club, based at Ventspils Olimpiskais Stadions in Ventspils city and is one of the most popular football clubs in the country. FK Ventspils plays in the Latvian Virsliga. They are the current champions of the tournament....

, and inherited the club's cherished number 9 shirt, vacated after the retirement of the club-record goalscorer Alan Shearer
Alan Shearer
Alan Shearer OBE, DL is a retired English footballer. He played as a striker in the top level of English league football for Southampton, Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United and for the England national team...

 in April.

Martins made his debut on 27 August, in the 2–0 defeat to Aston Villa
Aston Villa F.C.
Aston Villa Football Club is an English professional association football club based in Witton, Birmingham. The club was founded in 1874 and have played at their current home ground, Villa Park, since 1897. Aston Villa were founder members of The Football League in 1888. They were also founder...

, in which he was stretchered off with a knee injury. It turned out that Martins suffered a severe dead leg and internal bleeding. His unremarkable first few appearances for Newcastle caused manager Glenn Roeder
Glenn Roeder
Glenn Victor Roeder is an English football manager and former player, most recently in charge at Norwich City. As a player, Roeder represented England B on 7 occasions...

 to speak out in his defence.

However, on 17 September, Martins scored his first goal for Newcastle. It was the second goal in a 2–0 victory over West Ham United
West Ham United F.C.
West Ham United Football Club is an English professional football club based in Upton Park, Newham, East London. They play in The Football League Championship. The club was founded in 1895 as Thames Ironworks FC and reformed in 1900 as West Ham United. In 1904 the club relocated to their current...

 at Upton Park
Boleyn Ground
The Boleyn Ground, more commonly referred to as Upton Park due to its location in Upton Park, London is the football stadium of West Ham United.-History:...

, and from there his goalscoring form began to improve steadily.

Reports on 11 January 2007, indicated that Chelsea
Chelsea F.C.
Chelsea Football Club are an English football club based in West London. Founded in 1905, they play in the Premier League and have spent most of their history in the top tier of English football. Chelsea have been English champions four times, FA Cup winners six times and League Cup winners four...

 were considering making an offer for Martins services after his impressive form. These reports were later rubbished by Roeder and Martins himself.

On 14 January, in a 2–3 away win against Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
Tottenham Hotspur Football Club , commonly referred to as Spurs, is an English Premier League football club based in Tottenham, north London. The club's home stadium is White Hart Lane....

, Martins' 20-yard shot rocketed into the net. This strike was clocked by Sky Sports
Sky Sports
Sky Sports is the brand name for a group of sports-oriented television channels operated by the UK and Ireland's main satellite pay-TV company, British Sky Broadcasting. Sky Sports is the dominant subscription television sports brand in the United Kingdom and Ireland...

 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 his tenth goal for Newcastle. Martins ended his first season on Tyneside with 17 goals in 46 games.

His second season was somewhat mixed. With new manager Sam Allardyce
Sam Allardyce
Samuel "Sam" Allardyce , nicknamed "Big Sam", is an English football manager and former professional player. In June 2011 he was appointed as manager of West Ham United....

 preferring to play Michael Owen
Michael Owen
Michael James Owen is an English professional footballer who plays as a striker for Manchester United.The son of former footballer Terry Owen, Owen began his senior career at Liverpool in 1996. He progressed through the Liverpool youth team and scored on his debut in May 1997...

 and Mark Viduka
Mark Viduka
Mark Anthony Viduka is a former Australian soccer player who played as a centre forward. He captained the Australian national team at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany to the last 16.-Melbourne Croatia:...

 up front, Martins found himself being used as an impact substitute for the first half of the season. Despite this he managed to score consistently, and when Allardyce was sacked and Kevin Keegan
Kevin Keegan
Joseph Kevin Keegan, OBE is a former international footballer and former manager of the England national football team and several English clubs, most notably Newcastle United....

 was appointed, Martins found himself being used as part of a three pronged attack along with Owen and Viduka. Martins scored less goals in his second season with Newcastle, mainly due to him no longer being the focal point of all their attacks as he was in his first season with them, as well as his 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 him out for several games. It was confirmed on 7 January 2009, that Martins would undergo hernia surgery in Germany the next Monday. He was be operated on by renowned specialist Dr. Ulrike Muschaweck. He did make it back in time for the last two games of the season, scoring in a relegation six-pointer derby against Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough F.C.
Middlesbrough Football Club , also known as Boro, are an English football club based in Middlesbrough, who play in the Football League Championship. Formed in 1876, they have played at the Riverside Stadium since August 1995, their third ground since turning professional in 1889...

. However, he could not stop Newcastle being relegated to the Championship. He initially reiterated his desire to stay and help the club return to the Premier League for the 2009-10 season, but he eventually left for VfL Wolfsburg
VfL Wolfsburg
VfL Wolfsburg is a professional German association football club based in Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony, who play in the Bundesliga football competition. Wolfsburg have won the Bundesliga once in their history, in the 2008–09 season, and were DFB-Pokal runners-up in 1995. The current head coach is Felix...

. His last game was on a preseason friendly against Leyton Orient F.C.
Leyton Orient F.C.
Leyton Orient F.C. are an English professional football club in East London. They currently play in Football League One and are known to their fans as the O's.Leyton Orient have spent one season in the top flight of English football, in 1962–63...

, which Newcastle lost 6-1.

During his three-year spell on Tyneside, Martins amassed 39 goals in all competitions from 105 games.

Wolfsburg


On 29 July 2009 Newcastle accepted a £9 million bid from Bundesliga
Fußball-Bundesliga
The Fußball-Bundesliga is a professional association football league in Germany. At the top of Germany's football league system, it is the country's primary football competition. It is contested by 18 teams and operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the 2. Bundesliga...

 champions Wolfsburg
VfL Wolfsburg
VfL Wolfsburg is a professional German association football club based in Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony, who play in the Bundesliga football competition. Wolfsburg have won the Bundesliga once in their history, in the 2008–09 season, and were DFB-Pokal runners-up in 1995. The current head coach is Felix...

, 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 his debut, Martins came on as a second half substitute against FC Koln at the Rhein Energie Stadion, with his team deadlocked at 1-1. He helped in the buildup to the second goal and capped off his 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 Cologne keeper to the far post.

Rubin Kazan


On 9 July 2010, Martins was sold for a reported €17 million to reigning Russian Premier League
Russian Premier League
The Russian Premier League , currently called SOGAZ Russian Football Championship due to sponsorship reasons, is the top division of Russian football. There are 16 teams in the competition...

 champions Rubin Kazan
FC Rubin Kazan
FC Rubin Kazan is a Russian association football club based in the city of Kazan . Rubin won the Russian Premier League championship in 2008 and 2009.-History:...

. He signed a three-year contract and told BBC Sport
BBC Sport
BBC Sport is the sports division of the BBC. It became a fully dedicated division of the BBC in 2000. It incorporates programmes such as Match of the Day, Grandstand , Test Match Special, Ski Sunday, Rugby Special and coverage of Formula One motor racing, MotoGP and the Wimbledon Tennis...

: "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
Kurban Berdyev
Kurban Berdyev , ; born 25 August 1952) is a Turkmen - Russian football coach and a former Soviet footballer. He is currently a head coach and a vice-president of Rubin.He is the most prominent football player and coach of Turkmen ethnicity....

 had a "massive role" for him to play, following the departure of striker Aleksandr Bukharov
Aleksandr Bukharov
Aleksandr Yevgenyevich Bukharov is a Russian footballer currently playing for FC Zenit St. Petersburg.-Career:...

. Martins was able to make his debut with Rubin after 1 August, when the transfer window was opened.

Loan to Birmingham City


Following the birth of his child, Martins requested a move to England to be nearer to his family. On 31 January 2011, he joined Premier League club Birmingham City
Birmingham City F.C.
Birmingham City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Birmingham, England. Formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, they became Small Heath in 1888, then Birmingham in 1905, finally becoming Birmingham City in 1943.They were relegated at the end of the...

 on loan until the end of the season, with the option of a £5 million permanent deal in the summer of 2011. He made his debut, which had been delayed by the formalities of obtaining a working visa, in the starting eleven against Stoke City on 12 February; he played for 75 minutes as Birmingham won 1–0. He scored his 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
2011 Football League Cup Final
The 2011 Football League Cup Final was the final match of the 2010–11 Football League Cup, the 51st season of the Football League Cup, a football competition for the 92 teams in the Premier League and the Football League. The match was contested by Arsenal and Birmingham City, at Wembley Stadium in...

 as Birmingham beat Arsenal 2–1 at Wembley Stadium
Wembley Stadium
The original Wembley Stadium, officially known as the Empire Stadium, was a football stadium in Wembley, a suburb of north-west London, standing on the site now occupied by the new Wembley Stadium that opened in 2007...

, 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
Wojciech Szczęsny
Wojciech Tomasz Szczęsny is a Polish footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Arsenal and the Poland national football team. He is the son of former Polish goalkeeper Maciej Szczęsny....

 and defender Laurent Koscielny
Laurent Koscielny
Laurent Koscielny is a French footballer who plays as a defender for Arsenal. He primarily plays as a centre back but he can also play as an right back, a position where he started his career. Koscielny is a youth product of Guingamp. He is described as an aggressive, uncompromising and...

 as they attempted to deal with a headed knock down from Birmingham's Nikola Žigić
Nikola Žigic
Nikola Žigić is a Serbian footballer who plays for English club Birmingham City as a centre forward.At , Žigić is among the tallest professional players in the world...

. 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, he spent several weeks out with an injury eventually diagnosed as a stress fracture
Stress fracture
A stress fracture is one type of incomplete fracture in bones. It is caused by "unusual or repeated stress" and also heavy continuous weight on the ankle or leg...

 of the left tibia
Tibia
The tibia , shinbone, or shankbone is the larger and stronger of the two bones in the leg below the knee in vertebrates , and connects the knee with the ankle bones....

. After surgery in late April, he faced a recovery period estimated at three to four months.

International career


Martins has scored seventeen goals in 32 appearances for Nigeria
Nigeria national football team
The Nigeria national football team, nicknamed the Super Eagles or Green Eagles, is the national team of Nigeria and is controlled by the Nigeria Football Federation . The team has ranked as high as 5th in the FIFA World Rankings, in April 1994...

. He was a part of the Nigerian team that finished third in the 2006 African Cup of Nations
2006 African Cup of Nations
-Group B:---------------------Group C:---------------------Group D:---------------------Knockout stage:-Quarter-finals:-------------Semi-finals:-----Third-place play-off:-Final:-Scorers:...

. Martins scored two goals in the competition, both coming against Senegal
Senegal national football team
The Senegal national football team, nicknamed the Lions of Teranga, is the national team of Senegal and is controlled by the Fédération Sénégalaise de Football...

 in the first round.

His future for the national team has been placed in doubt on numerous occasions after separate incidents of controversy. In August 2006, the Nigerian FA
Nigeria Football Association
The Nigeria Football Federation organises domestic and international football in Nigeria. It was formally launched in 1945 and formed the first Nigerian national football team in 1949. It joined FIFA and the CAF in 1959...

 (NFA) website had his date of birth down as 1 May 1978, which would have made him 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 his move to Newcastle in doubt.

On 6 February 2007, Martins failed to turn up for the 4–1 friendly defeat against Ghana
Ghana national football team
The Ghana national football team, popularly known as the Black Stars, is the national association football team of Ghana and is controlled by the Ghana Football Association...

, despite being ordered to play. He later explained his absence was due to the fact he had travelled to Lagos in order to visit his sick mother.
The Nigerian caretaker coach Augustine Eguavoen was furious with Martins and threatened to ban him from the national team. On 14 February 2007, Martins apologised for missing the game but said he believed his mother's health was more important. He also said that he would be available to play for Nigeria in the future. He made his return to the national side on 24 March 2007, playing the full match against Uganda
Uganda national football team
The Uganda national football team, nicknamed The Cranes, is the national team of Uganda and is controlled by the Federation of Uganda Football Associations...

 in an African Cup of Nations
African Cup of Nations
The Africa Cup of Nations, also referred to as the African Cup of Nations or African Nations Cup, officially CAN , is the main international association football competition in Africa. It is sanctioned by the Confederation of African Football , and was first held in 1957. Since 1968, it has been...

 Qualifying match and won.

Following the end of Nigeria's 2008 Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign, Nigeria faced Mexico in Ciudad Juárez
Ciudad Juárez
Ciudad Juárez , officially known today as Heroica Ciudad Juárez, but abbreviated Juárez and formerly known as El Paso del Norte, is a city and seat of the municipality of Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Juárez's estimated population is 1.5 million people. The city lies on the Rio Grande...

 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 his 19th appearance. On 12 November 2009 he scored a spectacular goal in the 83rd minute against Kenya
Kenya national football team
The Kenya national football team, nicknamed the Harambee Stars, is the national team of Kenya and is controlled by Football Kenya Limited, the governing body of football in Kenya. They have never qualified for the World Cup finals.-History:...

 in Nairobi, thus ensuring Nigeria's qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup
2010 FIFA World Cup
The 2010 FIFA World Cup was the 19th FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It took place in South Africa from 11 June to 11 July 2010...

. 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, he came on as a 52nd minute substitute for Victor Obinna. In the third game he was used as a 57th minute substitute for Nwankwo Kanu
Nwankwo Kanu
Nwankwo Kanu, OON , or simply Kanu, is a Nigerian footballer who plays for Portsmouth. He was also a member of the Nigerian national team for 16 years from 1994 until 2010...

. Nigeria exited the tournament bottom of Group B
2010 FIFA World Cup Group B
Group B of the 2010 FIFA World Cup began on 12 June and ended on 22 June 2010. The group consisted of Argentina, Nigeria, Korea Republic and Greece....

 with only one point.

Career statistics


|-
|2000–01||Reggiana
A.C. Reggiana 1919
Associazione Calcio Reggiana 1919 is an Italian association football club, based in Reggio Emilia, Emilia-Romagna. The club was founded in 1919 as A.C. Reggiana and refounded in July 2005 as Reggio Emilia F.C., but it was renamed A.C. Reggiana 1919 soon after the start of the 2005–06 season. The...

||Serie C1||2||0||colspan="2"|-||colspan="2"|-||0||0||2||0
|-
|2001–02
2001–02 F.C. Internazionale Milano season
F.C. Internazionale Milano sustained its first proper title challenge since 1998 during the first season for new coach Héctor Cúper, who arrived on the back of taking Valencia to two consecutive UEFA Champions League finals...

||rowspan="5"|Internazionale
F.C. Internazionale Milano
Football Club Internazionale Milano, often referred to as Internazionale or simply Inter, is a professional Italian football club based in Milan, Italy. Outside Italy, the club is often called Inter Milan. They are the reigning FIFA Club World champions and Coppa Italia holders.Inter have always...

||rowspan="5"|Serie A
Serie A
Serie A , now called Serie A TIM due to sponsorship by Telecom Italia, is a professional league competition for football clubs located at the top of the Italian football league system and has been operating for over eighty years since 1929. It had been organized by Lega Calcio until 2010, but a new...

||0||0||0||0||colspan="2"|-||0||0||0||0
|-
|2002–03
2002–03 F.C. Internazionale Milano season
F.C. Internazionale Milano once again missed out on winning the Italian championship, despite the signings of star players Hernán Crespo and Fabio Cannavaro. The chance to clinch the title was still there when the team travelled to Torino to meet Juventus...

||4||1||2||0||colspan="2"|-||4||2||10||3
|-
|2003–04
2003–04 F.C. Internazionale Milano season
F.C. Internazionale Milano endured another desperate season, in which it was nowhere close to winning its first league title since 1989. Argentinian coach Héctor Cúper was once again handed several new players in the pre-season, but to finance those, it had to sell Hernán Crespo to Chelsea, leaving...

||25||7||3||1||colspan="2"|-||9||3||37||11
|-
|2004–05
2004–05 F.C. Internazionale Milano season
F.C. Internazionale Milano started off a new era with Roberto Mancini as coach, and Massimo Moratti in a more passive role as owner, with club legend Giacinto Facchetti embarking on his first season as president....

||31||11||6||6||colspan="2"|-||8||5||45||22
|-
|2005–06
2005–06 F.C. Internazionale Milano season
F.C. Internazionale Milano looked to have another year without a league title at prospect, but due to Juventus and Milan being caught in the Italian football scandal, Inter was awarded the title a month after the conclusion of another third placed-season....

||28||9||6||2||colspan="2"|-||9||2||43||13

|-
|2006–07||rowspan="3"|Newcastle United
Newcastle United F.C.
Newcastle United Football Club is an English professional association football club based in Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear. The club was founded in 1892 by the merger of Newcastle East End and Newcastle West End, and has played at its current home ground, St James' Park, since the merger...

||rowspan="3"|Premier League||33||11||2||0||2||0||9||6||46||17
|-
|2007–08||31||9||0||0||2||1||0||0||33||10
|-
|2008–09||24||8||0||0||1||0||0||0||25||8

|-
|2009–10
2009–10 Fußball-Bundesliga
The 2009–10 Fußball-Bundesliga was the 47th season of the Fußball-Bundesliga, Germany's premier football league. The season commenced on 7 August 2009 with the traditional season opening match involving the defending champions VfL Wolfsburg and VfB Stuttgart. The last games were played on 8 May 2010...

||VfL Wolfsburg
VfL Wolfsburg
VfL Wolfsburg is a professional German association football club based in Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony, who play in the Bundesliga football competition. Wolfsburg have won the Bundesliga once in their history, in the 2008–09 season, and were DFB-Pokal runners-up in 1995. The current head coach is Felix...

||Bundesliga
Fußball-Bundesliga
The Fußball-Bundesliga is a professional association football league in Germany. At the top of Germany's football league system, it is the country's primary football competition. It is contested by 18 teams and operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the 2. Bundesliga...


||16||6||1||0||0||0||8||0||25||6
|-

|-
|2010
2010 Russian Premier League
The 2010 Russian Premier League is the 19th season of the Russian football championship since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and 9th under the current Russian Premier League name. The season started on 12 March 2010. The last matches have been played on 29 November 2010. On 14 November 2010,...

||Rubin Kazan
FC Rubin Kazan
FC Rubin Kazan is a Russian association football club based in the city of Kazan . Rubin won the Russian Premier League championship in 2008 and 2009.-History:...

||Russian Premier League
Russian Premier League
The Russian Premier League , currently called SOGAZ Russian Football Championship due to sponsorship reasons, is the top division of Russian football. There are 16 teams in the competition...


||12||2||0||0||0||0||5||0||17||2
|-

|-
|2010–11
2010–11 Birmingham City F.C. season
The 2010–11 season was Birmingham City Football Clubs seventh season in the Premier League and their 57th in the top tier of English football. It ran from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011. Led by Scotland national team manager Alex McLeish, the team finished in 18th place in the League, so were...

||Birmingham City
Birmingham City F.C.
Birmingham City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Birmingham, England. Formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, they became Small Heath in 1888, then Birmingham in 1905, finally becoming Birmingham City in 1943.They were relegated at the end of the...

 (loan)||Premier League
||4||0||1||1||1||1||0||0||6||2
|-
90||28||17||9||colspan="2"|-||30||12||137||49
92||28||3||1||6||2||9||6||110||37
16||6||1||0||0||0||8||0||25||6
12||2||0||0||0||0||5||0||17||2
210||64||21||10||6||2||52||18||289||94
|-
|2004||4||3
|-
|2005||4||6
|-
|2006||7||2
|-
|2007||5||2
|-
|2008||2||0
|-
|2009||3||2
|-
|2010||12||3
|-
!Total||37||18
|}

Honours


Internazionale
F.C. Internazionale Milano
Football Club Internazionale Milano, often referred to as Internazionale or simply Inter, is a professional Italian football club based in Milan, Italy. Outside Italy, the club is often called Inter Milan. They are the reigning FIFA Club World champions and Coppa Italia holders.Inter have always...

  • Serie A
    Serie A
    Serie A , now called Serie A TIM due to sponsorship by Telecom Italia, is a professional league competition for football clubs located at the top of the Italian football league system and has been operating for over eighty years since 1929. It had been organized by Lega Calcio until 2010, but a new...

    : 2005–06
  • Coppa Italia
    Coppa Italia
    The Coppa Italia is an Italian football annual cup competition. Its first edition was held in 1922, but the second champions were not crowned until 1936. Roma and Juventus lead the way with nine wins. Roma has contested more finals, 16, while Torino and Juventus follow with 13...

    : 2005, 2006
    2006 Coppa Italia Final
    The 2006 Coppa Italia Final was a double match played between AS Roma and Internazionale.The first leg was played in Rome on 3 May 2006, while the second leg on 11 May.Inter won the trophy with an aggregate result of 4–2....

  • SuperCoppa Italiana
    Supercoppa Italiana
    The Supercoppa Italiana is a pre-season football competition held the week before the season begins in Italy every year. It is contested by the winners of the Serie A and the Coppa Italia in the previous season, as a curtain raiser to the new season. It is usually played at the home of the Serie A...

    : 2005
    2005 Supercoppa Italiana
    The 2005 Supercoppa Italiana was a match contested by 2004-05 Serie A champions Juventus and 2004-05 Coppa Italia winners Internazionale. The match took place on 20 August 2005, and resulted in a 1-0 win for Internazionale after extra time.-Match details:...

    , 2006
    2006 Supercoppa Italiana
    The 2006 Supercoppa Italiana was a match contested by the 2005-06 winners Internazionale and the 2005-06 Coppa Italia runners-up Roma. The Coppa Italia runners-up were chosen to play instead of the winners because of the aftermath of the 2006 Serie A match-fixing scandal...



Newcastle United
Newcastle United F.C.
Newcastle United Football Club is an English professional association football club based in Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear. The club was founded in 1892 by the merger of Newcastle East End and Newcastle West End, and has played at its current home ground, St James' Park, since the merger...

  • UEFA Intertoto Cup
    UEFA Intertoto Cup
    The UEFA Intertoto Cup, also abbreviated as UI Cup and originally called the International Football Cup, was a summer football competition for European clubs that had not qualified for one of the two major UEFA competitions, the Champions League and the UEFA Cup. The competition was discontinued...

    : 2006


Birmingham City
Birmingham City F.C.
Birmingham City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Birmingham, England. Formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, they became Small Heath in 1888, then Birmingham in 1905, finally becoming Birmingham City in 1943.They were relegated at the end of the...

  • Football League Cup
    Football League Cup
    The Football League Cup, commonly known as the League Cup or, from current sponsorship, the Carling Cup, is an English association football competition. Like the FA Cup, it is played on a knockout basis...

    : 2011
    2011 Football League Cup Final
    The 2011 Football League Cup Final was the final match of the 2010–11 Football League Cup, the 51st season of the Football League Cup, a football competition for the 92 teams in the Premier League and the Football League. The match was contested by Arsenal and Birmingham City, at Wembley Stadium in...



Individual
  • Confederation of African Football
    Confederation of African Football
    The Confederation of African Football is the administrative and controlling body for African association football.CAF represents the national football associations of Africa, runs continental, national, and club competitions, and controls the prize money, regulations and media rights to those...

     'Az Év Fiatal Játékosa' 2003
  • Confederation of African Football
    Confederation of African Football
    The Confederation of African Football is the administrative and controlling body for African association football.CAF represents the national football associations of Africa, runs continental, national, and club competitions, and controls the prize money, regulations and media rights to those...

     'Az Év Fiatal Játékosa' 2004

External links