Top Five Nigerians In UEFA Champions League History

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The UEFA Champions League is the biggest club competition in the world, and it is a competition that great players both present and past have made their marks.

Ronaldo and Messi hold the sway in the competition with both players the leading goalscorers. But they are not the only one as other stars have also created magical moments with their performances.

Nigerian stars both present and past are not left out of Champions League success stories with Emmanuel Dennis the star this season.

The 22-year-old scored three times in the competition this season, but the pick of them was his two goals at one of the iconic stadiums in the world- The Santiago Bernabeu.

However, before Dennis, there have been Nigerian players that have also shone in Europe’s prestigious competition. Soccernet takes a look at Nigeria’s top five players in the Champions League.

Celestine Babayaro: Babayaro made 21 appearances in the competition including qualifying. He is the youngest player to ever feature in the UEFA Champions League and also scored Chelsea’s first-ever goal in the competition- a 3-0 win over Skonto Rija.

Although he never won the competition, he was a winner in the UEFA Super Cup with Chelsea.

Finidi George: A winner with Ajax and one of the three Nigerians that have won the competition. The former Super Eagles star was one of the best wingers in the world in the 90s.

His European sojourn started with Ajax, and he settled in quickly, helping the Dutch side to win the Champions League in 1995.

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Finidi played from the start in the win over Milan and was also involved with the side that lost in the final to Juventus a year later.

He later featured for Real Betis in the UEFA Cup, but his finest moment in Europe’s club competitions was with Ajax.

Obafemi Martins: Martins is the Nigerian with the fourth-highest number of games in Europe with 63 appearances. However, no Nigerian has scored more goals in European club competitions than the former Newcastle man.

The most prolific period of his years was his time at Inter Milan, and he scored that famous equalizer against Milan in 2003.

Kanu Nwankwo: Like Finidi, Kanu was also part of the Ajax squad that won the Champions League. Nobody has made more appearances in Europe’s club competitions than Kanu (81).

Aside from winning the Champions League, Kanu also won the UEFA Cup with Inter Milan. Although he did not win a European trophy with Arsenal, it was the most successful spell of Kanu’s career.

He will be remembered for his goal against Deportivo La Coruna where he sent the goalkeeper for a hotdog before finishing into an empty net.

John Obi Mikel: The former Super Eagles captain Nigeria’s top player in Europe’s biggest competition. He played a vital role as Chelsea won the competition in 2012.

Mikel gave a superb performance for the whole 120 minutes as Chelsea defeated Bayern Munich on penalties. Like Kanu, Mikel also won the UEFA Cup which is now called the Europa League with Chelsea.

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