Finidi George

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Finidi George
Personal information
Full name Finidi George
Date of birth (1971-04-15) 15 April 1971 (age 43)
Place of birth Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Playing position Winger
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1989 Calabar Rovers
1990 Iwuanyanwu Nationale
1991–1993 Sharks
1993–1996 Ajax 85 (18)
1996–2000 Betis 130 (38)
2000–2001 Mallorca 31 (5)
2001–2003 Ipswich Town 35 (7)
2004 Mallorca 14 (0)
National team
1991–2002 Nigeria 62 (6)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Finidi George (born 15 April 1971 in Port Harcourt) is a Nigerian retired footballer who played as a right winger.

After making a name for himself at Ajax in the Netherlands – being a leading figure in a team which won eight major titles, including the 1994–95 UEFA Champions League – he played several years in Spain with Real Betis, also having a brief spell in England before retiring.

Finidi was an important member of the Nigerian team during the 1990s, appearing in two World Cups.

Club career[edit]

After playing for three different clubs in his country, Finidi arrived at AFC Ajax in 1993, alongside compatriot Nwankwo Kanu. His impact with the Amsterdam side was immediate as he scored four goals in 27 games to help it win the Eredivisie title, which was also achieved in the following two seasons; additionally, as a starter, he appeared in consecutive UEFA Champions League finals, winning the 1994–95 edition against A.C. Milan.

In 1996 Finidi moved to Spain and signed for Real Betis, where he netted in double digits in nearly every season, with the Andalusians finishing fourth in his first year, which also brought a Copa del Rey final loss against FC Barcelona (2–3 after extra time), where he scored; before joining the club he was close to moving to Real Madrid, but the deal fell through.[1]

After Betis' 2000 top flight relegation, Finidi stayed one more year in Spain with RCD Mallorca, after which he joined Premier League side Ipswich Town, managed by George Burley,[2] for £3.1 million.[3] He scored twice in a 3–1 win against Derby County at Portman Road but underperformed overall, with the club also suffering relegation; he was released from contract in June 2003.

In November 2003, 32-year-old Finidi underwent a trial at former club Mallorca,[4] following which he signed with the Balearic Islands team,[5] helping it finally finish in 11th position after constantly battling relegation. He retired from the game in the summer.

In mid-November 2010, Finidi returned to Betis as its director of international football. He continued, however, to live in Palma, Majorca, where he had relocated to after his retirement.[6]

International career[edit]

Finidi made his debut for Nigeria in 1991, in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Burkina Faso, providing three assists for Rashidi Yekini and scoring once in a 7–1 win. He helped the national team win the 1994 edition of the tournament in Tunisia, and also achieved one second and two third-place finishes.

Finidi represented Nigeria in two FIFA World Cups, 1994 and 1998.[7] In the former, held in the United States, the national team won its group but exited in the round-of-16 against eventual finalists Italy. He scored against Greece in a 2–0 win, proceeding to mimic a urinating dog whilst celebrating.[8]

In the 1998 tournament in France, Finidi also played in all the matches, with Nigeria meeting the same fate, at the hands of Denmark. He had already vowed to quit international football prior to the competition,[9] and gained a total of 62 caps.

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Ajax
Betis

Country[edit]

Personal[edit]

Finidi's younger brothers, Iginaware and Celestine, were also footballers. The former was killed during crowd problems in a match.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Finidi George: I almost joined Real Madrid in 1996". Goal.com. 22 March 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Finidi passes Ipswich medical; BBC Sport, 4 August 2001
  3. ^ Finidi agrees Ipswich move; BBC Sport, 16 August 2001
  4. ^ Finidi returns to Spain; BBC Sport, 18 November 2003
  5. ^ Finidi returns to Mallorca; BBC Sport, 8 January 2004
  6. ^ Finidi George:I am proud to be back in Real Betis; All Nigeria Soccer, 18 November 2010
  7. ^ Finidi GeorgeFIFA competition record
  8. ^ Top 10 dodgy goal celebrations; The Daily Telegraph, 11 November 2008
  9. ^ Finidi quits after World Cup; BBC Sport, 30 December 2001

External links[edit]

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