Today is the 42nd birthday of Nwankwo Kanu and isn’t that just a nice thing? The Nigerian forward has been a part of the beautiful game in some way, shape or form for many many years now, and we don’t think he’d mind us saying that. He’s had an interesting career, to say the least, but once the dust finally settled on his playing days a few years back, it’s fair to summarise that he was pretty successful for the most part.
As a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, you can already tell that he’s someone who put his earnings in the game to good use, and beyond that, he was a pretty good player too. The best part about Kanu is that he was so unconventional that if you took a quick glance at this style, you wouldn’t think that he possessed the kind of ability necessary to play at the highest level – but you’d be oh so wrong.
After spending time with Ajax and Inter Milan, with his run in Holland being more successful than the one in Italy, he earned a big money move to Arsenal in 1999 and proceeded to spend five years of his career there. He was by no means an unknown at that point and the pressure was certainly on for him to bounce back from his days at the San Siro, especially given that Arsene Wenger had already started to establish the Gunners as one of the top teams in English football.
As the African Footballer of the Year it was clear to see that things were paying off for him not long into his time at Highbury, although as we know, all good things eventually come to an end, as he secured a move to West Bromwich Albion before playing out the final six years of his career with Portsmouth – where he scored the winning goal in the FA Cup Final against Cardiff City.
Wherever Kanu went he always gave it his all, and on top of that, success seemed to follow. He became very familiar with the feeling of lifting silverware high in the air with the following achievements to his name: Nigerian Premier League, Eredivisie x3, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, Premier League x2, FA Cup x3, Olympic Gold Medal and so much more.
So happy birthday, Nwankwo, and thanks for the memories.
What’s your favourite Kanu memory at Arsenal?