Running like a flash to score goals and take acrobatic actions, that is the habit Obafemi Martins when appearing on the field. Born in the heart of the Nigerian capital, Lagos, Obafemi Martins often fills his free time by playing football.
Together with his peers, Martins formed a team to face each other. Usually, he plays without shoes, just like other children. At that time, it took up to two hours for him and his friends to score, that’s why he often celebrated goals as we know them today. The style of jumping up and down backward, like fleas, as a form of happiness, can score goals.
At the age of 16, Martins was taken by his grandfather to go to Italy. Martins began his professional career with the Italian Serie C club, Reggiana, in 2000. He was able to look stunning with the club from Emilia-Romagna until his talent was sniffed by clubs in Serie A such as Perugia and Inter Milan.
After that, his official talent was obtained by Inter Milan. In 2001, Martins first joined the Inter youth team. Thanks to the presence of Martins who managed to score a total of 23 goals, Inter’s U-18 team won the Serie A U-18 that season. Thanks to that glory, Martins was immediately drawn by Hector Cuper, Inter manager at the time, to the first team.
Martins’ senior debut began in the match against Parma. Two months later, he made history because he was brought by the coach for a Champions League match against Bayer Leverkusen. At that time, Martins managed to score a goal for Inter 2-0 victory.
From the match, Cuper seemed to mark the big name of Martins in Europe with his distinctive style to be easily recognized by world football lovers.
After that, Inter were able to pass the obstacles of Valencia. Then they met with AC Milan in the 2002/03 Champions League semifinals. At that time, Carlo Ancelotti’s Milan was known to have a very strong defense. But Cuper still believes in Martins to be able to save his face in front of the fans.
In the match, Martins was remembered with a successful action to fool Paolo Maldini. Receiving the ball and then controlled through his back, Martins made it through the obstacle known defender super tough. Through a flick of his left foot, Martins managed to score a goal for Inter.
Although Martins was considered a genius in the match, Inter were still not saved. But still, the trust given to the sprinter was able to be rewarded with a resounding performance.
In the Champions League competition, Martins was once again shaken by Europe as he brought Inter to the success of losing Arsenal in London. Although ultimately failed to bring Inter to advance to the next round, Martins’ action returned to the spotlight. And as usual, his acrobatic actions at the London cannon base successfully gave memories to fans of I Nerazzurri.
At that time, the name Martins continued to shine even though Inter was filled with popular names such as Adriano Ribeiro, Julio Cruz, and Christian Vieri. In 2005, Martins even got a new contract until 2010 with a value of 2.5 million euros per year as a reward for his good performance.
But his name began to be excluded when the arrival of the name Inter Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Hernan Crespo. At the beginning of the 2006/07 season, Martins had to lose his place at Inter. Martins knew that his time at Inter was up. A transfer request was submitted by him to the club management.
During his five-year career in Milan, Martins made 88 appearances in the senior team and made 28 goals, and contributed four titles to Inter, Serie A in the 2005/06 season, two Coppa Italia in the 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons, and Supercoppa Italy in 2005.
His transfer request was welcomed by Newcastle United. Newcastle has completed a deal with Inter for the striker on 24 August 2006. Martins signed a five-year contract and inherited the club’s number 9, which was vacated after the retirement of top scorer Alan Shearer in April.
However, his first year with Newcastle was not as easy as imagined. A faster English game, making it difficult. He debuted when against Aston Villa. Unfortunately for him, in his debut match against Aston Villa on August 27, 2006, he had to be pulled out due to a knee injury.
After further checking, it was discovered that Martins had internal bleeding in his leg. Even so, entering the following month, Martins’s performance improved again. He successfully patented his position as the main striker of the Magpies and ended the season with a total of 17 goals from 46 matches in all competitions.
At that time, he successfully formed a deadly trident with Mark Viduka and Michael Owen.
Unfortunately, Martins’s role was displaced by the change of Newcastle manager from Glenn Roeder to Sam Allardyce. Big Sam prefers duo Michael Owen and Mark Viduka as the main spearhead, rather than entering the name Martins. Martins’s position at Newcastle was increasingly marginalized in his third season after his hamstring had to be torn and kept him out for several months. That season was also the last of Martins’s adventures in England with Newcastle.
In the black-patterned club, Martins managed to donate 35 goals in all competitions from 104 matches. Besides, he also donated the Intertoto Cup title in the 2006 season.
After his departure from Newcastle, Martins never really lasted long in one club. He received the Wolfsburg proposal. There he was not played much and was sold to Rubin Kazan the following season. Turns out he was also not at home playing in Russia, especially his newborn son in England. So Rubin Kazan lent it to Birmingham City. Back in England, Martins earned a degree there. He scored the goal of Birmingham’s victory over Arsenal in the 2011 League Cup Final.
Not wanting to resume his career in Russia, Martins then moved to La Liga. In Spain, he played for Levante, which he took to rank 4th in the La Liga standings.
After that, Martins continued his career in Major League Soccer and later joined the Chinese club, Shanghai Shenhua. Now, at the age of 34, Martins is a player without a club.