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Yakubu Aiyegbeni


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Yakubu Aiyegbeni

 

Yakubu Aiyegbeni (born 22 November 1982 in Benin City), generally known simply as Yakubu, is a Nigerian footballer who currently plays as a striker for Everton. His nickname is "The Yak".

Club career

Early career

A striker, Yakubu started his career with Julius Berger FC in Lagos as a teenager in the Nigerian Premier League. He was later loaned to Gil Vicente.

Israeli team Maccabi Haifa paid $300,000 US for his services in 1999 and they loaned him for one season to Hapoel Kfar Saba. He was close to move to Dynamo Kyiv on a loan but the deal never occurred. With Haifa, he won two championships and had an excellent scoring record with the club, both in the domestic and international competitions, breaking several club records.[citation needed] He came to England and trained with Derby County but could not obtain a work permit at the time.[citation needed] After scoring seven goals in eight European Cup appearances (including a hat-trick against Olympiakos and a penalty in the 3-0 win over Manchester United) in the 2002–03 season UEFA Champions League, Yakubu moved to English club Portsmouth, initially on loan for a fee of £400k.

 

 

Portsmouth

His goals helped fire Portsmouth to the Division One title, scoring at a rate of one goal every two games.

In the January prior to the club's promotion to the Premier League, he was signed for £400,000. In what was Portsmouth's début season in the Premier League era they finished 13th, he scored 16 times in 35 starts, including four in a single game as Portsmouth defeated Middlesbrough 5–1 on the final day of the season. During the summer of 2004, several other Premiership teams were interested in purchasing Yakubu for up to £10 million,[citation needed] but he chose to stay and help consolidate the club's Premiership position. His final goal for Portsmouth in May 2005 before he left the club — the equaliser in a 1–1 home draw to Bolton Wanderers in the penulitimate league game of the season — was the goal that ensured Portsmouth would not be relegated from Premiership in the 2004–05 season.

Middlesbrough

After the 2004–05 season, he transferred from Portsmouth to Middlesbrough for a £7.5 million fee. Yakubu scored the only goal of the game with a penalty in the first leg of the UEFA Cup last 16 round at home against Roma, giving Middlesbrough a 1–0 victory, who later went through on away goals. He played for Middlesbrough in the 2006 UEFA Cup Final.

His transfer from Portsmouth to Middlesbrough in July 2005 is one of those about which the Stevens inquiry report in June 2007 expressed concerns because of the lack of co-operation from agents Pinhas Zahavi and Barry Silkman.

Everton

Yakubu was transferred to Everton in August 2007 for a fee of £11.25 million on a five-year deal. Shunning the traditional centre-forwards' number 9, Yakubu asked to be assigned number 22, setting this number as a goal-scoring target for his first season, a feat he fell one goal short of achieving. He scored 11 minutes into his debut for the club, the first goal in a 2–1 win against Bolton Wanderers at Reebok Stadium in September 2007. His first "yak"-trick came against Fulham in a 3–0 home league win in December 2007. Yakubu travelled to Ghana in early 2008 to compete in the Cup of Nations. Following Nigeria's exit from the competition, he was late in returning to his club, and as a result was dropped by manager David Moyes once back in England. His double against Newcastle United in a 3–1 win at Goodison Park on the last day of the 2007–08 season helped the Toffees clinch fifth place and a place in the 2008-09 UEFA Cup competition. He finished his first season with 15 Premier League goals to his name, and 21 goals in all competitions for Everton. Yakubu got his highest goal tally for a single season, and also became the first Everton player since Peter Beardsley to net 20 goals in a season.

Yakubu scored his 100th goal in English football in a league game at West Bromwich Albion early in the Premier League 2008–09 season. He continued his great start to the season with a goal against Standard Liège in the UEFA Cup. He got back on the scoresheet with a lucky, but clever, goal against Middlesbrough, his first goal in 10 games, but ruptured his achilles tendon in the 1–0 away win at Tottenham Hotspur on 30 November, ruling him out for the rest of the season. Yakubu played his first competitive game after the achilles tendon injury against Burnley Reserves, and in his first start for the first team in almost a year, he scored within 11 minutes against Hull City in the Carling Cup with a typically cool-headed finish. He came on for Jô in first-half injury time and scored an equaliser with his first touch to bring Everton level at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea. Then he scored the winning goal against Stoke.

Leicester City (loan)

Yakubu joined Leicester City on loan until the end of the season on 13 January 2011, with the possibility of a permanent deal. He made his debut and scored in a 1–1 draw against Preston North End on 15 January 2011, followed by another goal in a 4–2 win over Millwall on 22 January.

On 12 February 2011 he scored a left footed volley in their 2–0 win over local rivals Derby County. On 2 April 2011, he scored his first hat-trick against his former club Middlesbrough. He then scored a double in Leicester's 4–2 win over Watford. At the end of the season, Leicester City failed to sign him permanently, but are persuing a deal with Everton over the pre-season period.
[edit] International career

Yakubu has scored 21 goals in his 57 appearances for Nigeria, beginning with a goal against Namibia on 16 June 2001 in a Cup of Nations qualifier.

2010 FIFA World Cup

Yakubu notably missed an open goal from three metres away against South Korean but later went on to score a penalty. He is currently the third highest ever international goalscorer for Nigeria.

 

 

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