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Obafemi Akinwunmi Foluwashola Oshadi Martins (born on 28 October 1984) is a Nigerianmarker football player who plays as a forward for the Nigeria national team, and for the German Bundesliga club Wolfsburg.

Martins has two brothers who also play football professionally: his elder brother, Oladipupo Olarotini Martins, and his younger brother John Ronan Martins.The name 'Obafemi' translates literally to 'the king loves me' in the Yoruba language

Club career

Early years

Born in Lagosmarker, Martins joined the local football club F.C. Ebedei at the age of 14, having been scouted by manager Churchill Oliseh while playing on the streets of his hometown. After a year with the club, Italian Serie C side A.C. Reggiana 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. His first season in Italy saw Martins break into the first team squad, and later in the year Serie A sides Perugiamarker and Inter made offers for the forward.

Internazionale

A 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 Italianmarker Under-18 title. His form for the youth side led to his first-team league debut the following season, in a match against Parma 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 match that season, and came on as a substitute against his future employers, Newcastle United, at St. James' Parkmarker. 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, 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, the young Nigerian was sold in August 2006. This was due to Inter bringing in two new strikers; first Argentinian Hernán Crespo was brought in on loan from Chelsea and then the Swede Zlatan Ibrahimović was bought by Inter from Juventus.

Newcastle United

Martins warming up before a match
With Martins handing in a transfer request in August 2006, a number of English clubs were alerted to his availability. From the onset, Newcastle were thought to be the front runners and it was no surprise when on 24 August 2006, Martins completed his move to Newcastle United from Internazionale, signing for around £10 million in a five year deal. He was paraded in front of the Geordie fans before their UEFA cup tie against FK Ventspils. It was later confirmed he would be taking the famous number 9 shirt, replacing club-record goalscorer Alan Shearer following his retirement.

Martins made his debut on 27 August, in the 2–0 defeat to Aston Villa, 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 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 at Upton Parkmarker, and from there his goalscoring form began to improve steadily.

Reports on 11 January, 2007, indicated that Chelsea 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, 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 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 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 he 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 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 6 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 but could not stop Newcastle being relegated to the Coca-Cola Championship.

During his three-year spell on Tyneside, Martins became a firm favourite of the fans and amassed 39 goals in all competitions from 105 games.

Just by coincidence, Martins played 88 league games and scored 28 Serie A goals for Inter and also played and scored the exact same amounts in the Premiership for Newcastle.

Wolfsburg

On 29 July 2009 Newcastle United accepted a £9million bid from Bundesliga champions Wolfsburg, the transfer was confirmed on 31 July with Martins signing a four year contract. The four year deal was finished on August 12, with the club officially unveiling the Nigerianmarker international to the press and Wolfsburg supporters'. For his debut, Martins came on as a second half substitute against FC Koln at the Rhein Energie Stadionmarker, 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 for Wolfsburg with a well-taken goal after dribbling past two on-rushing defenders in the arc, and then cooly finishing from six yards out, slotting the ball past the Cologne keeper to the far post.

International career

Martins has scored sixteen goals in 21 appearances for Nigeria. He 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 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 website mistakenly had his date of birth down as 1 May 1978. This would have made him twenty-eight years of age, rather than twenty-one. The Nigerian FA 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, he did not turn up for the 4–1 friendly defeat against Ghana, 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 will 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 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 Juárezmarker 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 nineteenth appearance.On 12 November 2009 he scored a spectacular goal in the 83rd minute against Kenya in Nairobi, thus ensuring Nigeria's qualification for 2010 FIFA world cup

Career statistics

(correct as of 11 May 2009)
Club Season League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Inter Milan 2002–03 5 1 2 0 4 2 11 3
2003–04 24 7 3 1 9 3 36 11
2004–05 31 11 6 6 9 5 46 22
2005–06 28 9 6 2 10 2 44 13
Total 88 28 17 9 32 12 137 49
Newcastle United 2006–07 33 11 4 0 9 6 46 17
2007–08 31 9 2 1 0 0 33 10
2008–09 24 8 1 0 0 0 25 8
Total 88 28 7 1 9 6 104 35
Wolfsburg 2009–10 10 5 1 0 4 0 15 5
Total 10 5 1 0 4 0 15 5
Career Total 186 61 25 10 45 18 256 89
(* Coppa Italia, Italian Super Cup, FA Cup, League Cup, FA Community Shield, DFB-Ligapokal and DFB-Pokal)

Honours

 Individual:


 Internazionale:


 Newcastle United:


Notes

  1. http://www.obafemi-martins.com/
  2. Meaning of Obafemi in Nigerian.name
  3. Martins to undergo surgery Retrieved on January 07 2009
  4. http://footballfashion.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/obafemi-martins-vfl-wolfsburg-official-presentation/
  5. Includes Coppa Italia, Italian Super Cup, FA Cup, League Cup and FA Community Shield


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