Ikechukwu Uche

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Ikechukwu Uche
Ikechukwu Uche.jpg
Uche as a Getafe player
Personal information
Full name Ikechukwu Uche
Date of birth (1984-01-05) 5 January 1984 (age 34)
Place of birth Aba, Nigeria
Height 1.71 m (5 ft 7 in)
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
Number 8
Youth career
Amanze United
2000–2001 Iwuanyanwo Nationale
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2002–2003 Racing Ferrol 28 (2)
2003–2007 Recreativo 133 (50)
2007–2009 Getafe 55 (11)
2009–2011 Zaragoza 18 (1)
2011–2015 Villarreal 85 (33)
2011–2012Granada (loan) 34 (3)
2015–2016 UANL 0 (0)
2016Málaga (loan) 3 (0)
2016– Gimnàstic 48 (16)
National team
2007–2014 Nigeria 46 (19)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 3 June 2018

Ikechukwu Uche (born 5 January 1984) is a Nigerian footballer who plays for Spanish club Gimnàstic de Tarragona as a striker.

Known for his acrobatic goal celebrations,[1] he spent most of his professional career in Spain, having arrived in the country before the age of 20. He amassed La Liga totals of 194 games and 42 goals over the course of nine seasons, representing in the competition Recreativo, Getafe, Zaragoza, Villarreal, Granada and Málaga.

Uche appeared for Nigeria in two Africa Cup of Nations.

Club career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Born in Aba, Abia, Uche's career began in his country with Amanze United and Iwuanyanwu Nationale. Aged just 18, he moved to Racing de Ferrol in the Spanish second division, appearing in 24 games in his second season, which ended in relegation for the Galician team.

Uche then joined another club in the country's second level, Recreativo de Huelva, for a fee of US$300,000, and scored 12 goals in his first year, becoming the league's top scorer in the 2005–06 campaign at 20 in just 28 appearances (with five braces), as the Andalusians returned – as champions – to La Liga after a three-year absence.

In his first top flight season, Uche scored on eight occasions. Notably, he netted in three consecutive matches in November 2006 (with wins at Celta de Vigo and against CA Osasuna),[2][3][4] helping Recre finish eight.

Uche joined Madrid's Getafe CF for 2007–08, mainly being used as a substitute. On 29 November 2008, also from the bench, he scored in a 3–1 home win over Real Madrid.[5]


Real Zaragoza, recently returned to the top flight, agreed terms to sign Uche in July 2009, subject to medical.[6] He was presented officially on the 22nd, and signed a four-year contract;[7] in only his second match, a 1–4 loss at Sevilla FC, he suffered a severe knee injury, going on to miss seven months.[8]

Uche recovered fully for Zaragoza's 2010–11 pre-season. However, he soon suffered another knee injury, being ruled out for another six months;[9] his return to action took place on 19 February 2011 as he played 20 minutes in a 0–1 home loss against Atlético Madrid, hitting David de Gea's bar in the dying minutes of the game after an individual effort.[10]

On 2 March 2011, Uche made his first start of the season, at home against Athletic Bilbao. On the 55th minute, he scored the final 2–1 for the Aragonese – his first goal since May 2009 – and cried profusely as he celebrated.[11]


Uche (second from left) lining up for Villarreal in 2015

In the last day of the 2011 summer transfer window, Uche signed with Villarreal CF, being immediately loaned out to Granada CF. On 17 September, he scored the game's only goal against the team that held his rights, in a home fixture.[12]

Subsequently, returned to the Yellow Submarine, Uche led his team in scoring as it returned to the top division in 2013. Highlights included braces in home wins over CD Mirandés (2–0),[13] Sporting de Gijón (2–1),[14] Girona FC (4–1)[15] and at Racing de Santander (3–0).[16] On 6 January 2014, back in the top tier, he scored his first hat-trick as a professional to help to a 5–2 away routing of Rayo Vallecano.[17]

Later years[edit]

On 20 June 2015, Uche signed with Mexican side Tigres UANL for €3.5 on a three-year contract.[18] On 2 February of the following year he returned to Spain, being loaned to Málaga CF.[19]

On 10 August 2016, Uche agreed to a one-year deal with Gimnàstic de Tarragona in the Spanish second division.[20] Roughly one year later, he extended his contract until 2019.[21]

International career[edit]

Uche made his debut for Nigeria in 2007. He was part of the squad that competed in the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana, helping the Super Eagles to the quarter-finals.

Uche was called up to the 23-man squad for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations,[22] contributing with four scoreless appearances to the eventual champions.[23]

International goals[edit]

[24] (Nigeria score listed first, score column indicates score after each Uche goal)

Personal life[edit]

  • Uche's older brother, Kalu Uche, was also a footballer. Also a forward, he too spent most of his senior career in Spain (they are not related to two other players, Uche Okechukwu and Ikechukwu Kalu).[1]
  • His name, Ikechukwu, meant "God's Power" in Igbo.[25]
  • Uche made a cameo appearance in the music video for Touchin Body, by J. Martins and Dj Arafat.[26]







  1. ^ a b "La liga de los hermanos Uche" [The league of Uche brothers]. Marca (in Spanish). 29 September 2005. Archived from the original on 7 June 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "El Celta se estrella en casa (1–2) contra un Huelva que movió mejor el balón" [Celta crash at home (1–2) against a Huelva who moved ball better]. El Correo Gallego (in Spanish). 13 November 2006. Retrieved 6 June 2018. 
  3. ^ "El Recreativo suma y sigue ante un pobre Osasuna" [And counting for Recreativo against poor Osasuna]. 20 minutos (in Spanish). 19 November 2006. Retrieved 6 June 2018. 
  4. ^ "El Racing se impone en El Sardinero con un Zigic 'inmenso'" [Racing impose at El Sardinero with 'huge' Zigic]. 20 minutos (in Spanish). 26 November 2006. Retrieved 6 June 2018. 
  5. ^ "Miserable return for Schuster". ESPN Soccernet. 29 November 2008. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "Principio de acuerdo por Uche" [Early agreement on Uche] (in Spanish). Real Zaragoza. 18 July 2009. Archived from the original on 20 July 2009. Retrieved 18 July 2009. 
  7. ^ "Uche se presenta ante dos mil aficionados" [Uche presented before 2,000 fans] (in Spanish). Real Zaragoza. 22 July 2009. Archived from the original on 25 July 2009. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  8. ^ "Nigeria admit Uche blow". MTN Football. 7 October 2009. Archived from the original on 6 August 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2010. 
  9. ^ Pepe Borque (30 July 2010). "Uche se perderá media temporada" [Uche will miss half of the season]. Marca (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 31 July 2010. Retrieved 30 July 2010. 
  10. ^ "Aguero earns vital win for Atletico". ESPN Soccernet. 19 February 2011. Archived from the original on 28 June 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2011. 
  11. ^ "Athletic Club lose 2–1 at Real Zaragoza, extend losing streak to four". EITB. 2 March 2011. Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2011. 
  12. ^ "Uche sees off Villarreal". ESPN Soccernet. 17 September 2011. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  13. ^ "Villarreal 2–0 Mirandés: Ikechukwu Uche da alas al Submarino" [Villarreal 2–0 Mirandés: Ikechukwu Uche gives wings to the Submarine] (in Spanish). Goal. 27 October 2012. Archived from the original on 8 March 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  14. ^ "El Villarreal tumba al Sporting con un gol de Uche en el tiempo de descuento (2–1)" [Villarreal down Sporting with Uche goal in injury time (2–1)]. El Mundo (in Spanish). 10 March 2013. Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  15. ^ "4–1. El Villarreal golea al Girona y pone la directa hacia la liga BBVA" [4–1. Villarreal rout Girona and accelerate towards BBVA league]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 19 May 2013. Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  16. ^ "El Submarino hunde al Racing" [Submarine sinks Racing]. Marca (in Spanish). 17 November 2012. Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  17. ^ "Five-star Villarreal sink Rayo". ESPN FC. 6 January 2014. Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  18. ^ "Ikechukwu Uche leaves Villarreal – Signs with Tigres". Media Hub NG. 20 June 2015. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  19. ^ "Ikechukwu Uche: Nigerian striker joins Malaga on loan". BBC Sport. 2 February 2016. Retrieved 25 February 2016. 
  20. ^ "Ike Uche, nou fitxatge grana" [Ike Uche, new grana signing] (in Catalan). Gimnàstic Tarragona. 10 August 2016. Retrieved 11 August 2016. 
  21. ^ "Uche serà grana fins al 2019" [Uche will be grana until 2019] (in Catalan). Gimnàstic Tarragona. 15 August 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2017. 
  22. ^ Oluwashina Okeleji (10 January 2013). "Nations Cup 2013: Nigeria pick six locally-based players". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  23. ^ a b Ian Hughes (10 February 2013). "Sunday Mba scored a magnificent winner as Nigeria won the Africa Cup of Nations for the third time". BBC Sport. Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  24. ^ "Ikechukwu Uche – Goals in International Matches". RSSSF. Retrieved 15 August 2017. 
  25. ^ "Ikechukwu". Nigerian Name. Retrieved 21 January 2008. 
  26. ^ "J. Martins featuring Dj Arafat – Touchin Body (Official Video)". YouTube. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2013. 
  27. ^ "El Recreativo se proclamó campeón en el Rico Pérez" [Recreativo crowned champions at the Rico Pérez]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 19 June 2006. Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  28. ^ "Goleadores de 2005–2006" [2005–2006 top scorers]. El Mundo (in Spanish). 2006. Retrieved 17 February 2016. 

External links[edit]