Celestine Babayaro

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Celestine Babayaro
Babayaro.jpg
Babayaro in 2008
Personal information
Full name Celestine Hycieth Babayaro
Date of birth (1978-08-29) 29 August 1978 (age 36)
Place of birth Kaduna, Nigeria
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing position Left-back/Left-midfielder
Youth career
1994 Plateau United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1994–1997 Anderlecht 75 (8)
1997–2005 Chelsea 132 (5)
2005–2008 Newcastle United 47 (1)
2008 Los Angeles Galaxy 0 (0)
Total 254 (14)
National team
1995–2004 Nigeria 27 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 20:13, 10 June 2007 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 20:48, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

Celestine Hycieth Babayaro[1] (born 29 August 1978 in Kaduna) is a former Nigerian footballer. He was named after Pope Celestine V.

Club career[edit]

Babayaro began his playing career at Nigerian side Plateau United, before moving to Belgian club Anderlecht in 1994, and eventually would make a name for himself, quickly gaining first-choice status although still a teenager. Babayaro set records as the youngest player to make an appearance and to receive a red card in the UEFA Champions League. He was sent off in a match between Steaua Bucuresti and his club Anderlecht (1–1), aged 16 years and 86 days.

Chelsea[edit]

Babayaro was signed by Chelsea after being spotted by scout Lewis Durkin in April 1997. He moved for a transfer fee of £2.25 million,[2] a club record paid for a teenager at the time.[citation needed] He made his debut in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup against Slovan Bratislava,[3] but an injury sustained in the 6-1 win over rivals Tottenham Hotspur in December 1997[4] ruled him out for the rest of the season. This meant he missed their victories in the 1998 Football League Cup Final and the 1998 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final. However with Chelsea he went on to win the 1998 UEFA Super Cup, the FA Cup[5] and Charity Shield in 2000,[6] and reached the 2002 FA Cup Final.[7] He was also instrumental in Chelsea's memorable run in the 1999-2000 UEFA Champions League. However it was to end in heartbreak for Babayaro as he was sent off in extra time against Barcelona as they bowed out of the competition at the quarter final stage.[8] He faced competition from Graeme Le Saux during his seven-year spell, but managed to play over 200 games for the London side. His acrobatic celebrations with backflips were noted and loved by the fans of the club.

The steady form of Wayne Bridge saw Babayaro start only four FA Premier League matches for Chelsea in 2004–05 under new manager José Mourinho. Chelsea ended the season as Premier League champions.

Newcastle[edit]

In January 2005, he left Chelsea to join Newcastle United on an undisclosed fee,[9] where he established himself as first choice left back. He scored his first and what turned out to be only Newcastle goal in a 3–1 win over Coventry City in the FA Cup.[10]

In September 2006, Babayaro was given a three-match ban by The Football Association for slapping Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt in the face,[11] while Liverpool took a corner The slap was not seen by the referee Mark Halsey, but later footage showed Babayaro punch the Dutchman in the face. Babayaro accepted the allegations and apologised to Kuyt.

On 10 February 2007, after a 2–1 win over Liverpool, then-Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder revealed that just 12 hours before kick-off, Babayaro had called him saying his younger brother David had died from tuberculosis. Despite this, Babayaro insisted he would still play and put in a solid performance which earned him praise from Newcastle manager and fans. This fine form continued into United's 3–1 away victory against Zulte Waregem, in the UEFA Cup.[12]

Due to his many injury problems it was mutually decided, on 10 December 2007, that Babayaro should be released from his contract with immediate effect and a compensation figure was agreed.[13]

In January 2009, former Newcastle United chairman Freddy Shepherd described Babayaro as a "disgrace" who "didn't pull his weight" during a televised BBC interview.[14]

Recent activity[edit]

On 21 January 2008, 29-year-old Babayaro came to an agreement with the Los Angeles Galaxy to join them on a three-year contract, effective immediately.[15]

With this move, the Nigerian re-joined Galaxy coach Ruud Gullit who previously brought him to Chelsea in 1997 and spent a season coaching him there. This time again, it was precisely recently hired Gullit who wanted Babayaro at his new club. However, it did not take long for the move to turn sour. Thinking that he had arrived at sort of an American superclub that only a year earlier gave David Beckham what was widely reported to be the $250 million contract, Babayaro was agitated by what he considered to be "shabby" accommodations – from having to fly in the economy class to sharing a hotel room on the road.[16] His lack of commitment in training and preseason games reflected those feelings and he soon got on Gullit's and club president and general manager Alexi Lalas's bad side.

On 3 March, Babayaro was waived by the Galaxy after playing only 45 minutes in a preseason friendly against FC Seoul, receiving a yellow card and conceding a penalty in the process. The reason for this unexpected release was not stated explicitly by Galaxy front office. "After a period of evaluation, it was decided that it would be in the best interest of the club and the player to part ways,” Lalas said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that it did not work out, but Ruud and our technical staff are hard at work putting together this team and difficult decisions have to be made."[17]

During pre-season for the 2008–09 English league season, Babayaro trained with Premier League club Portsmouth at the invitation of manager Harry Redknapp with a view to signing for the FA Cup holders.[18] On 14 August 2008 Redknapp revealed that he would not offer Babayaro a contract at Fratton Park.[19]

On 8 July 2010, Babayaro officially announced his retirement from football.[20] He was declared bankrupt on 9 February 2011.[21]

International career[edit]

After being part of the victorious Nigerian team at the Under-17 World Championships in Japan (1993), Babayaro made his international senior debut in the Afro-Asian Championship in 1995, against Uzbekistan. The following year he was part of the Nigeria Olympic gold medal winning team at the Atlanta 96 football event, making the tournament's all-star team. He scored in the Gold Medal game itself against Argentina. After getting a knee injury in December 1997 in the Premier League, Babayaro recovered just in time to make the France 98 squad. He was also Nigeria's captain at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, and took part in the Korea/Japan 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Babayaro was part of Nigeria's squad for the 2004 African Nations Cup in Tunisia, but was controversially sent home, alongside Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Victor Agali for indiscipline. Although never officially announcing his retirement from international football, he has not played for the national team ever since.

Statistics[edit]

[22][23]

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Belgium League Belgian Cup League Cup Europe Total
1994/95 Anderlecht First Division 22 0
1995/96 28 5
1996/97 25 3
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
1997/98 Chelsea Premier League 8 0 0 0 2 0 3 0 13 0
1998/99 28 3 5 0 3 0 7 1 44 4
1999/00 25 0 1 0 0 0 15 2 41 2
2000/01 24 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 28 0
2001/02 18 0 4 0 4 0 2 0 28 0
2002/03 19 1 3 0 2 0 0 0 24 1
2003/04 6 1 2 0 3 0 3 0 14 1
2004/05 4 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 5 0
2004/05 Newcastle United Premier League 7 0
2005/06 28 0
2006/07 12 0
2007/08 0 0
United States League Open Cup League Cup North America Total
2008 Los Angeles Galaxy Major League Soccer 0 0
Country Belgium 75 8
England 179 5
United States 0 0
Total 254 13

Statistics include 2 Charity Shield appearances in 1998 and 2000.

Nigeria national team
Year Apps Goals
1995 1 0
1996 1 0
1997 4 0
1998 5 0
1999 2 0
2000 7 0
2001 2 0
2002 4 0
2003 0 0
2004 1 0
Total 27 0

Honours[edit]

Nigeria
  • U – 17 World Cup: 1993
  • Olympic Gold Medal: 1996
Anderlecht
  • Jupiler League: 1995
  • Belgian Supercup: 1995
Chelsea
  • UEFA Cup Winners Cup: 1998
  • UEFA Supercup: 1998
  • FA Cup: 2000
Individual
  • Belgian Young Footballer of the Year: 1995 & 1996

Personal life[edit]

Babayaro's brother, Emmanuel, a goalkeeper, was also part of Nigeria's 1996 Olympics gold medal winning team.[24]

Babayaro was acquitted of indecent assault in 1999.[25] He later sued the Daily Star for a headline suggesting he had been charged with rape and won an apology and damages.[26] He was declared bankrupt on 4 January 2011.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Viewing Page 383 of Issue 59669". London-gazette.co.uk. 12 January 2011. 
  2. ^ Staniforth, Tommy (22 April 1997). "Babayaro to join Bridge foreign legion". The Independent (Independent Print Limited). Retrieved 18 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "Slovan Bratislava 0 Chelsea 2 (Agg 0-4)". Sporting Life. 2 October 1997. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "Tottenham's revival hopes threatened by Venglos factor". The Independent. 8 December 1997. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Chelsea claim FA Cup glory". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). 20 May 2000. Retrieved 18 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "Keane sees red as Chelsea triumph". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 13 August 2000. Retrieved 18 April 2012. 
  7. ^ "Arsenal lift FA Cup". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 16 February 2003. Retrieved 18 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "Chelsea's European dream shattered". BBC. 18 April 2000. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  9. ^ "Newcastle to unveil Babayaro". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 30 December 2004. Retrieved 18 April 2012. 
  10. ^ "Newcastle 3–1 Coventry". BBC. 29 January 2005. Retrieved 6 November 2009. 
  11. ^ "Babayaro hit with three-match ban". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 22 September 2006. Retrieved 18 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "Brave Baba's secret sorrow". Nufc.premiumtv.co.uk. 
  13. ^ "Bye Bye Babayaro". Chroniclelive.co.uk. 
  14. ^ "Shepherd regrets over missed opportunity". BBC News. 28 January 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2010. 
  15. ^ Idaho, Duncan (21 January 2008). "MLS Soccer News – Transfers | Trades | Signings | Rumors: Babayaro to LA Galaxy". Mlssoccernews.blogspot.com. 
  16. ^ The Beckham Experiment, Grant Wahl, Three Rivers Press (paperback edition), New York, Pp.177–178
  17. ^ "Babayaro doesn't last with Galaxy". Los Angeles Times. 2008. Archived from the original on 12 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  18. ^ "New Season, Same Hunger". 2008. 
  19. ^ "Babayaro a no go but Jordi has a chance". 2008. 
  20. ^ http://allafrica.com/stories/201007080155.html
  21. ^ "Ex Chelsea player, Celestine Babayaro declares bankruptcy | African Breaking News | Entertainment, Politics & Sports News". Emnnews.com. 19 February 2011. 
  22. ^ Celestine Babayaro at National-Football-Teams.com
  23. ^ "Players Appearances Ba-Bd". Bounder.friardale.co.uk. 
  24. ^ "Migration: Der Doppelpass des Nigerianers". Spiegel.de. 14 August 2000. 
  25. ^ "Footballer cleared of indecent assault". BBC News. BBC. 2 August 1999. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  26. ^ "Recent Work | Media Law | Entertainment Law | Libel Lawyers". Lawyers-media.com. 

External links[edit]