Finidi George

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Finidi George
Personal information
Full nameFinidi George
Date of birth (1971-04-15) 15 April 1971 (age 47)
Place of birth Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Playing position Winger
Senior career*
1989 Calabar Rovers
1990 Iwuanyanwu Nationale
1991–1993 Sharks
1993–1996 Ajax 85 (18)
1996–2000 Betis 130 (38)
2000–2001 Mallorca 31 (5)
2001–2003 Ipswich Town 35 (7)
2004 Mallorca 14 (0)
National team
1991–2002 Nigeria 62 (6)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Finidi George (born 15 April 1971) is a Nigerian retired footballer who played as a right winger.

Nigeria Federal republic in West Africa

The Federal Republic of Nigeria, commonly referred to as Nigeria, is a federal republic in West Africa, bordering Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, and Benin in the west. Its coast in the south is located on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. The federation comprises 36 states and 1 Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja is located. Nigeria is officially a democratic secular country.

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.


After making a name for himself at Ajax in the Netherlands – being a leading figure in a team which won eight major titles, including the 1995 Champions League – he played several years in Spain with Real Betis, also having a brief spell in England before retiring.

AFC Ajax Dutch association football team

Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax, also known as AFC Ajax, Ajax Amsterdam or simply Ajax, is a Dutch professional football club based in Amsterdam, that plays in the Eredivisie, the top tier in Dutch football. Historically, Ajax has been the most successful club in the Netherlands, with 33 Eredivisie titles and 18 KNVB Cups. It has continuously played in the Eredivisie, since its inception in 1956 and, along with Feyenoord and PSV, it is one of the country's "big three" clubs that have dominated that competition.

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.

1995 UEFA Champions League Final association football match

The 1995 UEFA Champions League Final was the 40th edition and took place in Vienna between AFC Ajax and A.C. Milan. It was Milan's third consecutive European Cup final, a feat which has since been matched in the Champions League era by Juventus between 1996 and 1998 and Real Madrid between 2016 and 2018, Milan was also aiming to tie Real Madrid's record of having won the European Cup six times. After 85 minutes the deadlock was broken when Frank Rijkaard, a former Milan player, found Patrick Kluivert with just enough space in the penalty area to lose his two markers and slot the ball past Milan keeper Sebastiano Rossi.

Finidi was an important member of the Nigeria team during the 1990s, appearing in two World Cups. He became famous at the 1994 World Cup for his goal celebration where he ran to the corner flag after scoring after Greece, knelt down, and imitated a urinating dog. [1]

The Nigeria national football team, also known as the Super Eagles, represents Nigeria in international association football and is controlled by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). They are three-time Africa Cup of Nations winners, with their recent title in 2013, after defeating Burkina Faso in the final.

FIFA World Cup association football competition for mens national teams

The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champion is France, which won its second title at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Goal celebration practice of celebrating the scoring of a goal

In association football and ice hockey, a goal celebration is the practice of celebrating the scoring of a goal. The celebration is normally performed by the goalscorer, and may involve his or her teammates, the manager or coaching staff and/or the supporters of the team. Whilst referring to the celebration of a goal in general, the term can also be applied to specific actions, such as a player removing his shirt or performing a somersault.

Club career

Born in Port Harcourt, Finidi initially played for three clubs in his country. In 1993 he arrived at AFC Ajax, alongside compatriot Nwankwo Kanu. His impact with the Amsterdam side was immediate as he scored four goals in 27 games to help them win the Eredivisie title, which was also achieved in the following two seasons; additionally, as a starter, he appeared in consecutive UEFA Champions League finals, winning the 1994–95 edition against A.C. Milan. [2]

Port Harcourt Metropolis in Rivers, Nigeria

Port Harcourt is the capital and largest city of Rivers State, Nigeria. It lies along the Bonny River and is located in the Niger Delta. As of 2016, the Port Harcourt urban area has an estimated population of 1,865,000 inhabitants, up from 1,382,592 as of 2006.

Nwankwo Kanu Nigerian footballer

Nwankwo Kanu, OON, or simply Kanu, is a retired Nigerian footballer who played as a forward. He was a member of the Nigerian national team. Kanu is a native of Abia State, southeast Nigeria, and a member of the Aro sub-group of the Igbo ethnic group. Nwankwo means "Child born on Nkwo market day" in the Igbo language.

Amsterdam Capital city of the Netherlands and municipality

Amsterdam is the capital city and most populous municipality of the Netherlands. Its status as the capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands, although it is not the seat of the government, which is The Hague. Amsterdam has a population of 854,047 within the city proper, 1,357,675 in the urban area and 2,410,960 in the metropolitan area. The city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country but is not its capital, which is Haarlem. The Amsterdam metropolitan area comprises much of the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, which has a population of approximately 8.1 million.

In 1996, Finidi moved to Spain and signed for Real Betis, where he netted in double digits in nearly every season, with the Andalusians finishing fourth in his first year, which also brought a Copa del Rey final loss against FC Barcelona (2–3 after extra time), where he scored; [3] before joining the club he was close to moving to Real Madrid, but the deal fell through. [4]

Real Betis Spanish football club

Real Betis Balompié, SAD, more commonly referred to as Real Betis or just Betis, is a Spanish football club based in Seville, in the autonomous community of Andalusia. Founded on 12 September 1907, it plays in La Liga, having won the Segunda División in the 2014–15 season. It holds home games at Estadio Benito Villamarín in the south of the city.

Andalusia Autonomous community of Spain

Andalusia is an autonomous community in southern Spain. It is the most populous, and the second largest autonomous community in the country. The Andalusian autonomous community is officially recognised as a "historical nationality". The territory is divided into eight provinces: Almería, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaén, Málaga and Seville. Its capital is the city of Seville.

The 1996–97 La Liga season, the 66th since its establishment, started on 31 August 1996 and finished on 23 June 1997.

After Betis' 2000 top flight relegation, Finidi stayed one more year in Spain with RCD Mallorca, after which he joined Premier League team Ipswich Town, managed by George Burley, [5] for £3.1 million. [6] He scored twice in a 3–1 win against Derby County at Portman Road [7] but underperformed overall, with them also suffering relegation; he was released from contract in June 2003. [8]

The 1999–2000 La Liga season, the 69th since its establishment, began on 21 August 1999 and ended on 20 May 2000.

RCD Mallorca Spanish association football team

Real Club Deportivo Mallorca, S.A.D. is a Spanish football team based in Palma, in the Balearic Islands. Founded on 5 March 1916 it currently plays in Segunda División, holding home games at the Estadi de Son Moix.

Premier League Association football league in England

The Premier League is the top level of the English football league system. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the English Football League (EFL).

In November 2003, 32-year-old Finidi underwent a trial at former club Mallorca, [9] following which he signed with the Balearic Islands team, [10] helping them finally finish in 11th position after constantly battling relegation. He retired from the game in the summer.

In mid-November 2010, Finidi returned to Betis as its director of international football. He continued, however, to live in Palma, Majorca, where he had relocated to after his retirement. [11]

International career

Finidi made his debut for Nigeria in 1991, in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Burkina Faso, providing three assists for Rashidi Yekini and scoring once in a 7–1 win. He helped the national team win the 1994 edition of the tournament in Tunisia, [12] and also achieved one second [13] and two third-place finishes. [14] [15]

Finidi represented Nigeria in two FIFA World Cups, 1994 and 1998. [16] In the former, held in the United States, as the national team won their group and exited in the round-of-16 against eventual finalists Italy, he scored against Greece in a 2–0 win, proceeding to mimick a urinating dog whilst celebrating. [17]

In the 1998 tournament in France, Finidi also played in all the matches, with Nigeria meeting the same fate at the hands of Denmark. He had already vowed to quit international football prior to the competition, [18] and earned a total of 62 caps.

Personal life

Finidi means "Future full of sun" in his language. Two of his 11 brothers, Iginaware and Celestine, were also footballers, and the former was killed during crowd problems in a match. [19]






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  1. Jon Carter (26 May 2010). "First XI: World Cup celebrations". ESPN . Archived from the original on 3 June 2010.
  2. 1 2 "Kluivert strikes as Ajax force changing of the guard". 24 May 1995. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  3. 1 2 "Barça de titanes" [Titanic Barça] (in Spanish). Mundo Deportivo. 29 June 1997. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  4. "Finidi George: I almost joined Real Madrid in 1996". 22 March 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
  5. Finidi passes Ipswich medical; BBC Sport, 4 August 2001
  6. Finidi agrees Ipswich move; BBC Sport, 16 August 2001
  7. "Finidi kick-starts Tractor Boys". The Guardian. 22 August 2001. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  8. "The rise and fall of Ipswich in the Premier League". These Football Times. 19 May 2015. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  9. Finidi returns to Spain; BBC Sport, 18 November 2003
  10. Finidi returns to Mallorca; BBC Sport, 8 January 2004
  11. Finidi George:I am proud to be back in Real Betis; All Nigeria Soccer, 18 November 2010
  12. 1 2 "African Nations Cup 1994". RSSSF . Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  13. 1 2 "African Nations Cup 2000 – Final Tournament Details". RSSSF. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  14. 1 2 "African Nations Cup 1992". RSSSF. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  15. 1 2 "African Nations Cup 2002 – Final Tournament Details". RSSSF. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  16. Finidi George FIFA competition record ( archive )
  17. Top 10 dodgy goal celebrations; The Daily Telegraph, 11 November 2008
  18. Finidi quits after World Cup; BBC Sport, 30 December 2001
  19. Henry Winter (21 September 2001). "On the Spot: Finidi George". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  20. "Juventus hold their nerve to seal the real deal". 22 May 1996. Retrieved 20 September 2017.