|This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (February 2013)|
Samba with Dynamo Moscow in 2014
|Full name||Veijeany Christopher Samba|
|Date of birth||28 March 1984|
|Place of birth||Créteil, France|
|Height||1.94 m (6 ft 4 in)|
|2004–2006||Hertha BSC II||28||(4)|
|2013||Queens Park Rangers||10||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 20 October 2016.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 3 July 2013
Samba only made 20 appearances during his time in Germany and desired a move elsewhere. Struggling to break into the Hertha first team, he was invited by Mark Hughes to undertake a five-day trial at Blackburn Rovers. In total for the German club in his three years there, he made approximately 28 appearances in all competitions, and was involved in eight UEFA Cup matches.
On 25 January 2007, Samba completed a transfer to Blackburn Rovers of the Premier League, signing a three-and-a-half year deal for £450,000 and taking the number 21 shirt. He made his Rovers debut against Luton Town in the FA Cup Fourth Round as a 69th-minute substitute for Ryan Nelsen, and his Premiership debut on 31 January against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in a 3–0 defeat. On 17 March, Samba scored his first goal for Blackburn against West Ham United with a header in the 47th minute, coming in the 1–2 defeat at Ewood Park. He then scored his second goal for Blackburn in a 3–1 victory over Watford at Ewood Park on 18 April, playing the full 90 minutes with Ryan Nelsen at the centre of defence. At the end of the 2006–07 season, he made 19 appearances, scoring two goals in 14 Premier League games.
Following Samba's performances in his debut season, he established himself as a starter in the 2007–08 season and was given number 4. On 22 October 2007, Blackburn announced Samba had signed a new long-term contract keeping him at the club until the summer of 2012. He made a total of 40 appearances during the season, scoring three goals in all competitions.
Although recognised predominantly as a defender, Samba made several appearances as a striker in the latter stages of the 2008–09 season. On 4 April 2009, with Blackburn losing 1–0 against Tottenham Hotspur, he started the second half up front. Blackburn went on to win 2–1, with manager Sam Allardyce claiming Samba's impact as "key to victory." During the next league match against Liverpool at Anfield on 11 April, Samba again started as a lone striker, with natural striker Benni McCarthy left on the bench. He continued to play as a striker in the next match against Wigan Athletic in the 2–0 win for Blackburn. By the end of the season, he had made 39 appearances, including 35 Premier League starts and four cup games and scored three goals in all competitions.
Samba scored his first goal of the 2009–10 season against Aston Villa on 26 September 2009. In November, he signed a new five-year contract with the club. He scored on his 100th Premier League start in a 2–0 victory over Fulham at Ewood Park and netted his third league goal of the 2009–10 season on 13 March against in a 1–3 defeat to Tottenham at White Hart Lane. On 3 May 2010, Samba scored the winning goal as Rovers beat Arsenal 2–1 at Ewood Park. He was also picked as captain for the game, despite club captain Ryan Nelsen and vice-captain David Dunn both starting. Throughout the season, he made a total of 33 starts and scored four goals in 30 Premier League games.
Samba was appointed club captain for the 2010–11 season with Nelsen moving to vice-captain, but he was stripped of the captaincy by new manager Steve Kean on 26 December after announcing his desire to leave Blackburn. Samba signed a new four-and-a-half year deal on 2 February 2011. On 14 May 2011, he started the game against Manchester United at Ewood Park in the 1–1 draw. Samba captained Rovers in their 2–3 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux in the last Premier League match of the campaign and was shown with all the fans on the pitch at the final whistle. At the end of the campaign, he made 36 appearances and scored four goals in all competitions as Blackburn finished in 15th place in the Premier League table.
After missing the opening two Premier League fixtures, Samba played his first game of the season on 27 August, playing the full 90 minutes alongside Gaël Givet in the 0–1 defeat against Everton at Ewood Park. On 11 September 2011, he started alongside debut centre back Scott Dann in a 1–1 draw against Fulham at Craven Cottage. On 17 September 2011, Samba started and played the full 90 minutes alongside Dann in a 4–3 victory over Arsenal at Ewood Park. Samba scored his first goal of 2011–12 season against Queens Park Rangers in a 1–1 draw. He scored his second goal against Norwich City in a 3–3 draw on 29 October 2011.
On 31 December 2011, Samba was part of the squad that recorded a win against Manchester United, defeating Alex Ferguson's side at Old Trafford 2–3. A foul on Samba in the penalty area by Dimitar Berbatov resulted in Blackburn being awarded a penalty which Blackburn scored. In January 2012, Samba handed in a transfer request following a bid from Queens Park Rangers, which was rejected. On 14 January, Samba missed Blackburn's victory over Fulham, though manager Steve Kean attributed this to a stomach virus. On 17 January, Blackburn turned down Samba's transfer request and issued a statement saying that the Rovers captain was not for sale. Samba himself had issued a statement the previous day, saying, "In my five years at Blackburn Rovers I have always given 100% in every game I have played. I have had several opportunities to leave but I have always stayed. I have decided now is the right time for me to pursue a new challenge and I have asked the club to respect my decision and allow me to leave. I thank the fans for their support and I hope they feel I have served them and their club well."
On 24 February 2012, Samba completed a move to Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala on a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee thought to be in the region of £12.3 million, with a salary of £100,000 per week. Following his move to Russia, Samba was given the number 22 shirt. Suggestions that he only joined Anzhi for money were angrily denied by Samba, who insisted that his move to link up with manager Guus Hiddink was motivated by ambition. Samba made his debut for Anzhi on 5 March 2012, with the team defeating Dynamo Moscow 1–0. He scored his first goal for the team on 6 May 2012 in the 3–1 home win over Rubin Kazan in a Russian Premier League match.
Racism incident in Russia
During a match between Anzhi and Lokomotiv Moscow on 17 March 2012, which Lokomotiv won 1–0, a crowd at Lokomotiv allegedly threw a banana at Samba after the match. In response, Samba threw the banana back into the crowd, which he expressed regret in doing. Samba spoke out saying that he was saddened by the incident happening close to children. "I am very sad that this happened in front of children who were sitting in the same stand," the Congo international told reporters after the game. "It is a really bad example for them." Samba revealed he almost broke down in tears when he became the latest victim of racism in Russia. His club Anzhi described the banana throwing as "idiotic."
This banana incident thrown at Samba led Sergey Fursenko, the president of the Russian Football Union (RFS), to promise that the authorities are already investigating the incident to identify the person who threw the banana at Samba. Both clubs (Anzhi Makhachkala and Lokomotiv) have made a vow to find the fan who racially abused Samba and publicly punish him. However, Anzhi Makhachkala have publicly criticised Lokomotiv's "interference" after the club claimed its fans did not throw a banana at Samba, with Anzhi Vice-President German Chistyakov saying, "It seems FC Lokomotiv is trying to interfere in the investigation... We are confident this is nothing but an absolute nonsense and foolishness." On 30 March 2012, the Russian Football Union confirmed the authorities had identified the thrower and that the thrower is a college student from Moscow.
After weeks of the banana racism, Samba vowed to stay at Anzhi despite racism.
|“||"I feel extremely passionately about racism in football and will never let the small community of racists break me, I'm a strong character and will keep fighting for my team.I am thoroughly enjoying my time in Russia and although I was of course angry at the racism incident, along with the rest of the football world, racist issues here are no different to what I have experienced in other countries.||”|
Nine months after incident, Samba spoke out on racism, accusing Zenit Saint Petersburg supporters, specifically a small group of Zenit fans who are openly against homosexual or non-white players playing for Zenit, as racist and described their actions as "living in another century."
Queens Park Rangers
Following his transfer, QPR manager Harry Redknapp commented that "Chris is just what we need. He's a monster. Great in the air, quick, a leader, strong, fantastic in both boxes, hard as nails. He's a proper centre-half. He was willing to take a massive pay cut."
Chris issued an apology to fans after a game against Fulham.
Return to Anzhi
On 2 July 2013, Anzhi agreed a fee of £12 million to bring Samba back to Russia after only half a season with QPR following their relegation from the Premier League. Rangers were looking to cut their wage bill after dropping out of the English Premier Division, with Samba one of the highest earners on a reported £100,000 per week.
On 29 August 2013, Dynamo Moscow signed three players from Anzhi, with Samba being one of them, wearing the number 4 shirt. However, Samba's family are still based in England. For this reason, Samba is periodically linked with moves back to an English club.
In June 2015, Dynamo were excluded from 2015–16 Europa League contention for violating Financial Fair Play break-even requirements. Consequently, most of the foreign players left the club. In August, Samba went to Turkey to arrange a transfer to Trabzonspor, but the transfer fell through, with Trabzonspor manager Shota Arveladze commenting: "This is not the Samba I know, this is some kind of Mike Tyson. I need a football player, not a heavyweight boxer." Samba didn't play any games for Dynamo in the first half of the 2015-16 season, with his spot in the lineup taken by a new signing Vitali Dyakov. Dynamo manager Andrey Kobelev explained that Samba is suffering from a herniated disc in his neck and he required a surgery to correct it. After the surgery, his recovery took most of the rest of the 2015-16 season. He returned to action for Dynamo in a game against PFC CSKA Moscow on 24 April 2016. His Dynamo contract expired at the end of the 2015-16 season and was not extended.
On 31 August 2016, in the last day of the pre-season summer transfer window, Panathinaikos officially announced the capture of Samba who signed an one-season contract with the Greens. On 20 January 2017, Samba's contract was dissolved by mutual consent despite joining the club over the summer, as he has been hit with injuries since the start of the 2016-17 season.
Samba represents the Republic of the Congo national team and made his debut as a 20-year-old in 2004. He is the current captain of the team.
Club career statistics
- As of match played 24 November 2016
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- "FC Dinamo Moskva referred to Adjudicatory Chamber for break-even requirement breach". UEFA. 24 April 2015.
- УЕФА отстранил "Динамо" от участия в ЛЕ-2015/16 за нарушение финансового fair play (in Russian). Rossiya Segodnya. 19 June 2015.
- "Şota: Sanki Mike Tyson geldi" (in Turkish). Fanatik. 10 August 2015.
- Футболисту "Динамо" Кристоферу Самба может потребоваться операция на позвоночнике (in Russian). Russian News Agency TASS. 22 September 2015.
- "Динамо" строится (in Russian). Rossiyskaya Gazeta. 19 February 2016.
- Защитник Самба и ФК "Динамо" не намерены продолжать сотрудничество (in Russian). Russian News Agency TASS. 22 May 2016.
- "Samba joins Panathinaikos". www.sport24.gr. 31 August 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- "Λύση συνεργασίας με Σάμπα" (in Greek). Panathinaikos F.C. 20 January 2017.
- Includes FA Cup, League Cup and FA Community Shield
- Christopher Samba at Soccerbase
- Christopher Samba at National-Football-Teams.com
- Veijany-Christopher Samba – French league stats at LFP
|Blackburn Rovers captain