Ibrahim in 2014
|Full name||Rabiu Ibrahim|
|Date of birth||15 March 1991|
|Place of birth||Kano, Nigeria|
|Height||1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking midfielder|
|2009–2010||→ Real Massamá (loan)||1||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18 December 2016.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 00:00, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
Ibrahim was born in Kano. In summer 2007, he signed for Sporting Clube de Portugal for €450,000, in a joint ownership agreement with his previous club Gateway FC. Shortly afterwards, it was reported that Premier League sides Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Arsenal were interested in signing him, but nothing came of it.
In late 2007, Ibrahim was included by World Soccer in its 50 Most Exciting Teen Footballers list and, in March of the following year, he was featured by InsideFutbol.com in an article on young African footballers including Emmanuel Adebayor, Mario Balotelli and John Obi Mikel. In January 2009, he appeared in Goal.com's list of 10 African Players to Watch, and The Times' Football's Top 50 Rising Stars.
With Sporting, Ibrahim participated in the 2008 Bellinzona Under-19 International Tournament, with the Portuguese eventually winning the trophy. In the competition, in which he was eventually voted as the best player, he was deployed as a classic number 10 in a 4–2–3–1 system; one year later, he again led the Lisbon club to the final stage of the same tournament.
In October 2009, Ibrahim twice rejected Sporting's offer of a professional contract, and was at that time sent on loan to Real Sport Clube in the third division. In January 2010 he drew interest from Scottish Premier League's Celtic, but the deal never materialised due to undisclosed reasons believed to involve work permit issues.
In summer 2010, Ibrahim left Sporting as a free agent. Subsequently, Dutch side VVV-Venlo tried to sign him in partnership with a United Kingdom-based consortium, but the negotiations broke down due to financial issues. In December, shortly after Damien Comolli was appointed director of football at Anfield, the player was again linked to Liverpool.
In January 2011, Ibrahim went on trial with Eerste Divisie club Telstar through an investment group. After performing well in an friendly game against PSV Eindhoven, described as one of the best players in the match by the team's coach, he was quickly offered a contract, pending a valid work permit from the Royal Dutch Football Association.
However, Telstar could not afford to sign Ibrahim even with the help of private investors. Subsequently, he went on trial with PSV, scoring twice in a 2–0 win against the club's B-team in a practice match – the club's manager, Fred Rutten, said: "Ibrahim is fast, technically skilled, physically strong and has a good sense of field position, there is something in that boy". Shortly after, on 11 March 2011, he signed a three-year contract with the Eredivisie side.
In December 2011, Ibrahim's agent reached a mutual agreement with PSV to terminate the player's contract, because of limited first-team action.
On 18 January 2012, Celtic announced that, after a successful trial period, they had agreed terms to sign Ibrahim on a three and-a-half-year contract, pending a work permit application which was granted five days later. He revealed that he turned down a move to clubs in England and Germany to join the Glasgow team, believing it could help him restore his reputation.
On 2 January 2013, Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels confirmed that Ibrahim had signed a two-year contract with the club on a free transfer. The 21-year-old decided to move to Rugby Park in search of regular first-team football; he also stated that his choice was due to his new team having a similar style to that of FC Barcelona, whilst Shiels said that the move was good for the player's career, and that he would attempt to 'get inside his head' to help him find his form.
Ibrahim made his debut for the East Ayrshire team two weeks after signing, coming on as a substitute for Paul Heffernan in a goalless draw against Dundee United. He finished his first season with only six appearances.
On 19 October 2013, Ibrahim collapsed in the first half of a league fixture against Ross County and was taken to the nearby University Hospital Crosshouse. The following January, both he and his compatriot Reuben Gabriel were released.
Ibrahim was a member of the Nigerian under-17 team in the 2007 FIFA World Cup in South Korea, scoring in the first match against France as the nation went on to win the competition. Before the tournament, he had been dubbed "the new Jay-Jay Okocha", and helped the side win that year's Africa U-17 Cup of Nations held in Togo, scoring twice against Eritrea in the group stage (8–0).
Aged 16, he was included in the senior team squad by German coach Berti Vogts for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, with his under-17 teammate Haruna Lukman. However, a groin injury prevented him from participating in the tournament.
In 2009, Ibrahim helped Nigeria to win bronze in the African Youth Championship in Rwanda, netting against Ivory Coast and South Africa, with the national team securing a place in that year's FIFA U-20 World Cup where he appeared in three matches, scoring against Germany in the 2–3 round-of-16 loss; in addition to his six goals in the youth levels, he also provided many assists.
In the following years, Ibrahim continued to be closely watched by the Nigerian senior coaches, with Samson Siasia claiming in the media in April 2010 that he was one of only two players who could solve the country's attacking midfield problems. Siasia was appointed in November 2010 and the player was called up to his first camp ahead of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, but the manager in charge was now Stephen Keshi.
- As of 10 November 2013
- FIFA U-17 World Cup: 2007
- African U-17 Championship: 2007
- African Youth Championship: Bronze medal 2009
- "Oferta pública de subscrição – Prospecto" [Public offer for subscription – Prospect] (pdf) (in Portuguese). Sporting CP. 10 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- Arsenal, interest for Rabiu Ibrahim; Football Press, 7 October 2007
- Fergie chases Rabiu; Daily Mirror, 20 September 2007
- Papers: Boss eyes whizz-kid; Manchester United, 20 September 2007
- Top 50 Most Exciting Teen Footballers (2007); Soccer Lens, 29 November 2007
- African players with eyes on world domination; Inside Futbol, March 2008
- Ten African players to watch in 2009; Goal.com, 1 January 2009
- Football's top 50 rising stars; The Times, 12 January 2009
- PSV set to help Ibrahim Rabiu out of the wilderness; Inside Futbol, 10 March 2011
- Nigeria's Rabiu Ibrahim rejects Sporting CP's pro deal; Goal.com, 4 October 2009
- Celtic interested in the African Messi; BBC, January 2010
- Rabiu Ibrahim – 19-year-old starlet tracked by Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United currently a free agent; IM Scouting, 11 December 2010
- Rabiu Ibrahims Dutch move fails; African Football, 15 August 2010
- Liverpool wonderkid target now available on free; Give Me Football, 11 December 2010
- Telstar will contract super talent Ibrahim Rabiu (19) (ex-Sporting Lisbon)
- Telstar hopes to get Nigerian duo after the winter
- Telstar proudly: "This is the Rabiu Ibrahim"
- Rabiu on trials at PSV; MTN Football, 4 March 2011
- PSV wants to capture Nigerian Ibrahim
- PSV free transfer student Ibrahim explains long time
- PSV and youth international Ibrahim apart again; Soccer News, 26 December 2011
- "Ibrahim signs Celtic contract". FIFA.com. 19 January 2012.
- "I snubbed clubs in England and Germany to join Celtic, says Rabiu Ibrahim". Daily Record. 27 January 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- "Celtic 1–0 St Johnstone". BBC Sport. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
- "Kilmarnock have signed Celtic midfielder Rabiu Ibrahim". Sky Sports. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
- "Rabiu Ibrahim: I chose Kilmarnock because they played like Barcelona against Celtic". Daily Record. 19 January 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- "Kenny Shields plans to 'get inside his head' to find the best of Rabiu Ibrahim". Daily Record. 19 January 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- "Rabiu Ibrahim debuts for Kilmarnock". MTN Football. 28 January 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- "Kilmarnock star Rabiu Ibrahim still in hospital after collapsing in Rugby Park win over Ross County". Daily Record. 21 October 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- "Nigerian Gabriel Reuben released by Kilmarnock". BBC Sport. 2 January 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- Rabiu Ibrahim – FIFA competition record
- "The burden of Okocha's heir – Rabiu Ibrahim looks to a brighter Nigeria career". Goal.com. 12 June 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- Nigeria (NGA); FIFA.com
- African U17 round-up; BBC Sport, 11 March 2007
- Anichebe out of Nigeria squad; Sky Sports, 11 December 2007
- Vogts dumps Anichebe – Picks Haruna Lukman, Rabiu Ibrahim; All Africa, 12 December 2007
- Rabiu gets Super Eagles recall; All Africa, 23 September 2009
- Nigeria, South Africa into AYC semis; BBC Sport, 24 January 2009
- Ghana win African Youth Champs; BBC Sport, 1 February 2009
- Nigeria coach Shuaibu Amodu tips Rabiu Ibrahim for glory; Goal.com, 10 August 2009
- Siasia makes case for Rabiu Ibrahim; Africa Plays, 21 April 2010
- Samson Siasia is appointed Nigeria's new coach; BBC Sport, 4 November 2010
- "AFCON 2017 Qualifiers: Super Eagles beat Chad in Kaduna". Premium Times. 13 June 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- "Allan Johnston keen to ensure Kilmarnock avoid transfer 'mistakes'". STV. 26 July 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
- "I. Rabiu". Soccerway. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- "I. Rabiu – Trophies". Soccerway. Retrieved 25 May 2016.