5 Nigerians who have won UEFA Champions League/Europa League trophy

5 Nigerians who have won UEFA Champions League/Europa League trophy

According to reports, Nigeria has the highest number of football players plying their trade in Europe compared to other nationalities in the world.

Only just of a few of them have won continental trophies with their respective club sides which includes the Champions League and the UEFA Cup, now regarded as the Europa League.

These players have featured for the biggest clubs in the European continent who are known for their dominance in the elite competitions.

These Nigerian players have also worn the Green and White jersey for the Super Eagles and have replicated their performances enhancing the national team to compete at the world stage.

Here are the five players that have won UEFA Champions Leagye/UEFA Europa League trophy.

1. Finidi George (UEFA Champions League winner)

The former Calabar Rovers winger was among the first set of Nigerians to win the Champions League for Ajax Amsterdam in 1995, where they overcame mighty AC Milan in the final with a 1-0 win courtesy of a Patrick Kluivert’s goal.

The ex-Ipswich Town midfielder was a darling to watch with his dazzling dribbles on the right flank and his ability to drive in and score goals like a number 9. He would always be remembered for his superb strike against Bayern Munich in the semi finals.

5 Nigerians who have won UEFA Champions League/Europa League trophy
Kanu and Finidi George with the Champions League trophy. Photo: Daily Mail

Finidi is one of few Nigerian players that was regarded as one of the best in the world and after his move to Real Betis in Spain, he was voted as the best right winger in the world.

In the 1994/95 Champions League season, the Amsterdam outfit were unbeaten all through the competition with a team that had many youth and a few experienced players which included the likes of Clarence Seedorf, Frank Rijkaard, Edgar Davids, Jari Litmanen Danny Blind, Mark Overmars and likes.

These crop of players went all the way to the finals in the following year but lost out to another Italian football power house, Juventus on penalties.

2. Kanu Nwankwo (UEFA Champions League winner)

Like his fellow compatriot, Kanu was part and parcel of the Ajax squad that were victorious at the 1994/95 seasons’ in the Champions League.

5 Nigerians who have won UEFA Champions League/Europa League trophy
Kanu and his Ajax teammates with the Champions League trophy. Photo: Daily Mail

The former Iwuayanwu Nationale striker often came on as a second half substitute to do the damage. The lanky forward made an appearance in the final and should have made it 2-0 after walking past Franco Baresi but his shot hit the post.

3. Taribo West (UEFA Europa league winner)

Taribo is arguably the most successful centre back Nigeria has had in history. His best footballing season ever was the 1997/98 season with Inter Milan when he helped his team win the UEFA Cup alongside the world’s most expensive player then, Ronaldo de Lima.

5 Nigerians who have won UEFA Champions League/Europa League trophy
Taribo West and Ronaldo with the Europa League trophy. Photo: Daily Mail

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The former Derby County defender cemented a starting shirt all through the season and was known for marking out the top marksman of the opposing side.

Inter were 3-0 victors over their Italian counterparts Lazio in the UEFA Cup final following a trademark goal from Ronaldo.

4. Chidi Odiah (UEFA Europa league winner)

Odiah still remains one of the best wing-backs that has ever played for the Super Eagles. He became a darling with Russian side CSKA Moscow and played an integral part to their UEFA Cup success in 2005.

The former Julius Berger man was a midfielder but was converted into a full-wing-back position because his ability to defend, attack and shoot with both feet.

5 Nigerians who have won UEFA Champions League/Europa League trophy
Chidi Odiah and his teammates with the Europa League trophy. Photo: UEFA website

Odiah scored a glorious goal in the 4-0 demolition of Auxerre in quarter finals as his team match on to the finals to overcome Portuguese outfit Sporting Lisbon by 3-1.

5. Mikel Obi (Champions League winner)

On record, he was the last Nigerian to win the coveted Champions League with Chelsea under the tutelage of Roberto Di Matteo with a nervy win over Bayern Munich in 2012.

5 Nigerians who have won UEFA Champions League/Europa League trophy
Mikel and his teammates with the Champions League trophy. Photo: Chelsea website

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Unlike the national team, Mikel did not score many goals for Chelsea but his performances in the holding midfield position for the Blues was second to none as he was involved in the class act in their Champions League winning campaign.

After several attempts by the London club to win the trophy failed. 2012 was the only time the Stamford Bridge outfit claimed the trophy in their name and Mikel’s name was also written in the history books.

On the other hand, Legit.ng asked Nigerians to name the club they think would win the UEFA Champions League and we got some pretty interesting options.

Source: Legit.ng

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Akan Anwankwo Akan Anwankwo is a sports editor, a graduate of English Language and Literature Studies at the University of Lagos. He's passionate about what he does and finds fulfillment in informing readers.

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