Emilio Nsue López (born 30 September 1989) is a professional footballer who plays for Primera Federación club Intercity. Born in Spain, he captains the Equatorial Guinea national team, of which he is the all-time top scorer. A versatile player, he plays mainly as a right-back but can also play as a winger.

Emilio Nsue
Nsue with Birmingham City in 2017
Personal information
Full name Emilio Nsue López[1]
Date of birth (1989-09-30) 30 September 1989 (age 34)[2]
Place of birth Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Height 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)[3]
Position(s) Right-back, winger
Team information
Current team
Intercity
Number 8
Youth career
Atlético Baleares
2004–2006 Mallorca
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2006–2008 Mallorca B 55 (26)
2008–2014 Mallorca 142 (13)
2008–2009Castellón (loan) 38 (7)
2009–2010Real Sociedad (loan) 33 (5)
2014–2017 Middlesbrough 70 (3)
2017–2018 Birmingham City 36 (1)
2018–2019 APOEL 26 (10)
2019–2020 Apollon Limassol 14 (1)
2020–2021 APOEL 27 (3)
2022 Tuzla City 7 (1)
2022– Intercity 52 (13)
International career
2005 Spain U16 3 (3)
2005–2006 Spain U17 9 (5)
2006–2008 Spain U19 21 (7)
2009 Spain U20 10 (4)
2009–2011 Spain U21 8 (1)
2013– Equatorial Guinea 43 (22)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 10 April 2024
‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 22 January 2024

Nsue began his career at Mallorca, where he appeared in 153 competitive games and four La Liga seasons, and spent time on loan at Real Sociedad and Castellón. In 2014, he joined English club Middlesbrough, and helped them gain promotion to the Premier League in 2016. Nsue signed for Birmingham City in January 2017, and a year later moved into Cypriot football, spending 18 months with APOEL, a season with Apollon Limassol, and another season with APOEL. After six months without a club, he joined Bosnian Premier League club Tuzla City in 2022, before joining Spanish club Intercity later in the same year.

As Nsue was born in Spain to an Equatoguinean father and a Spanish mother, he was eligible to represent both nations at international level, and initially played for Spain at youth level, winning European championships at under-19 level in 2007 and under-21 level in 2011. In 2013, he made his senior international debut for Equatorial Guinea, his father's country, and two years later represented that nation at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. He played in two further Africa Cup of Nations tournaments in 2021 and 2023, being the top scorer of the latter, receiving the Golden Boot as a result.[4]

Club career edit

Mallorca edit

Nsue was born in Palma, Majorca, in the Balearic Islands, and began his football career as a forward in the youth system of Mallorca. He made his professional debut for the club on 3 February 2008, playing the last few minutes of a 1–1 draw at Villarreal.[5] He added a few more minutes the following week, in a goalless home draw with Almería.[6]

 
Nsue in training with Real Sociedad in 2010

For 2008–09, Nsue was loaned to Castellón of the Segunda División.[7] Regularly used in a comfortable campaign[clarification needed] for the Valencians, he scored twice in a 4–1 win at home to Levante on 18 October 2008.[8]

Nsue joined another second-tier club, Real Sociedad, on loan for the 2009–10 season.[9] Although rarely a starter, he was an important member of the attack as the Basque team returned to La Liga after a three-year absence.[citation needed]

Nsue returned to Mallorca for 2010–11 and began the season in the starting eleven, the first match being a 0–0 home draw with Real Madrid.[10] On 3 October 2010 he scored his first competitive goal for the club, heading in from a corner in a 1–1 draw at Barcelona.[11] He appeared in all 38 league games and netted four times as his team narrowly avoided relegation.[citation needed]

In 2011–12 Nsue played in several matches as an attacking right back, and totalled nearly 2,000 minutes of action (20 starts) to help Mallorca rank eighth.[citation needed] After conversations with manager Joaquín Caparrós during pre-season, it was agreed that he would start the following campaign in that position.[12]

Middlesbrough edit

On 1 August 2014, Nsue joined English Football League Championship club Middlesbrough, signing a three-year contract as a free agent. He was signed by Aitor Karanka,[13] who knew him from the Spanish youth set-up.[14] Eight days later he made his debut, coming on as a substitute for Albert Adomah for the last 23 minutes of a 2–0 win over Birmingham City at the Riverside Stadium.[15] On 12 August he made his first start, playing the whole of a 3–0 win at Oldham Athletic in the first round of the 2014–15 League Cup.[16]

Boro reached the play-off final at Wembley on 25 May 2015. They lost 2–0 to Norwich City, and Nsue played the second half in place of Dean Whitehead after both goals had already been conceded.[17] Despite Karanka's insistence that the player would only be used in defence as an emergency procedure,[18] he played much of his second season at right back.[19] On 28 November 2015, he scored his first goal in English football to complete a 2–0 win at Huddersfield Town.[20] On 15 December, he netted the only goal of a home win over Burnley that put Middlesbrough top of the table.[21]

Nsue played 37 of 46 league games in 2015–16 as Boro achieved automatic promotion to the Premier League. He played the first three undefeated matches in the top flight, before being dropped for Antonio Barragán.[22]

Birmingham City edit

Nsue signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with Birmingham City of the Championship on 18 January 2017;[23] the fee, officially undisclosed, was believed by the Birmingham Mail to be £1m with a further £1m in add-ons.[24] He made his debut in the starting eleven for the league visit to Norwich City on 28 January, playing at right back; Birmingham lost 2–0.[25][26] He was an unused substitute for the next match, but appeared in every match thereafter, and "single-handedly tred to drag Blues up the pitch"[27] in the final fixture of the season, away to Bristol City, which his team needed to win to avoid relegation.[28] His only goal of the campaign came against Queens Park Rangers on 18 February in stoppage time in a 4–1 home defeat.[25][29] Changes of management and personnel, and the need to stabilise a struggling team, meant Nsue was no longer a first choice in the 2017–18 side. He played regularly under Harry Redknapp's management in the early part of the season, but Steve Cotterill preferred the more defensive Maxime Colin at right back, and in the January 2018 transfer window, Nsue was allowed to leave.[27]

Cyprus edit

Nsue signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with Cypriot First Division champions APOEL in January 2018; the fee was undisclosed.[30] He went straight into the starting eleven for the visit to Doxa on 14 January; his headed goal after 26 minutes was Apoel's third in an 8–0 win.[31] He made 26 league appearances in his first 13 months with the club,[32] before a dispute with manager Paolo Tramezzani led to his contract being terminated for disciplinary reasons.[33]

Having spent the 2019–20 season with another First Division club, Apollon Limassol, Nsue returned to APOEL in September 2020 on a one-year contract.[34]

Tuzla City edit

Having been a free agent since leaving APOEL at the end of the 2020–21 season,[35] Nsue signed for Bosnian Premier League club Tuzla City on 9 February 2022 until the end of the season.[36]

He made his debut for the club on 26 February, coming on as a substitute in the second half of a 1–1 away draw against city rivals Sloboda.[37] On 12 March 2022, he scored his first goal for Tuzla City in his fourth appearance in a 2–1 away win over Velež Mostar in the Bosnian Premier League.[38] Only two months after joining the club, Nsue left Tuzla City in April 2022.[39]

Intercity edit

On 17 June 2022, Nsue became the first signing of Intercity for the 2022–23 season, signing a two-year contract.[40]

International career edit

Spain edit

Nsue represented his native Spain at all under-age levels. He was a member of the under-17 squad for the 2006 European Championships, but was injured in their opening match and took no further part in the finals.[41] He started all five matches as Spain's under-19s won the 2007 European Championships,[6][42] and was again part of the squad for the following year's tournament. Spain failed to progress past the group stage, losing to both Germany and Hungary – according to UEFA's technical report, "one of the poignant images of the tournament was provided by striker Emilio Nsue who was so upset by missed chances that he played the closing minutes [against Hungary] weeping disconsolately."[43] He scored twice in a 4–0 defeat of Bulgaria in the third group match that meant they still qualified for the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup.[44] Nsue played in two of the three group stage matches, scoring twice in an 8–0 win against Tahiti, and played the whole of the round of 16 match in which Spain were eliminated by Italy.[45] Nsue made his under-21 debut in 2009. He was part of the 2011 European title-winning squad, but appeared only once, as a substitute in the group stages against the Czech Republic.[46][47]

Equatorial Guinea edit

Nsue's father hailed from Ebibeyin,[48] making him eligible to play for Equatorial Guinea. He turned down an invitation to represent the country at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations as he wanted to be a part of the Spanish team for the Olympics, but he did not make the final cut.[49] In March 2013, he signed a contract with the Equatoguinean Football Federation (FEGUIFUT), committing himself to attend all call-ups in which he was included, all expenses paid.[50]

 
Nsue (left) playing for Equatorial Guinea at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

He scored on his debut for Equatorial Guinea in an unofficial friendly with Benin on 21 March 2013; he captained the team and played the first 45 minutes.[51] He was again captain on his first competitive appearance, when he scored a hat-trick in a 4–3 win over Cape Verde in a 2014 World Cup qualifier.[52] FIFA later declared him ineligible for that match and for the return fixture, awarding both games to Cape Verde by a 3–0 scoreline.[53] Nsue captained Equatorial Guinea's team as they hosted and finished fourth in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. He scored the tournament's opening goal in a 1–1 draw with the Republic of the Congo on 17 January at the Estadio de Bata.[54]

Nsue also captained Equatorial Guinea at the delayed 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. He became the first player to score a hat-trick in the Cup of Nations since Soufiane Alloudi in 2008, after scoring three goals against Guinea-Bissau on 18 January 2024.[55] He finished the group stage as top scorer of the competition with five goals.[56] In the round of 16 match against Guinea, he missed a penalty with the score deadlocked at goalless draw; however, the opponent managed to clinch the victory in stoppage time.[57] However, he eventually managed to win the "Golden Boot" as the top scorer for the tournament.[58] Following the tournament, Nsue was suspended indefinitely by the FEGUIFUT after he was involved in "several episodes of serious indiscipline".[59] In response, he made a live broadcast on his Instagram account, accompanied by Iban Salvador (also suspended), where he referred to various sport officials as, "suckers, cancers and corrupt."[60]

On 24 May 2024, Nsue was once again ruled as ineligible by FIFA.[61]

Career statistics edit

Club edit

As of match played 21 January 2024[32]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National cup[a] League cup[b] Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Mallorca 2007–08[62] La Liga 2 0 0 0 2 0
2010–11[62] 38 4 4 2 42 6
2011–12[62] 30 3 4 1 34 4
2012–13[62] 32 2 2 0 34 2
2013–14[62] Segunda División 40 4 1 0 41 4
Total 142 13 11 3 153 16
Castellón (loan) 2008–09[62] Segunda División 38 7 3 1 41 8
Real Sociedad (loan) 2009–10[62] Segunda División 33 5 1 0 34 5
Middlesbrough 2014–15[63] Championship 26 0 0 0 2 0 1[c] 0 29 0
2015–16[64] 40 3 1 0 5 0 46 3
2016–17[25] Premier League 4 0 0 0 1 0 5 0
Total 70 3 1 0 8 0 1 0 80 3
Birmingham City 2016–17[25] Championship 18 1 18 1
2017–18[65] 18 0 0 0 2 0 20 0
Total 36 1 0 0 2 0 38 1
APOEL 2017–18[32] Cypriot First Division 17 7 1 0 18 7
2018–19[32] 9 3 0 0 4[d] 0 13 3
Total 26 10 1 0 4 0 31 10
Apollon Limassol 2019–20[32] Cypriot First Division 14 1 4 0 2[d] 0 20 1
APOEL 2019–20[32] Cypriot First Division 27 3 5 0 3[d] 0 35 3
Tuzla City 2021–22[32] Bosnian Premier League 7 1 3 1 10 2
Intercity 2022–23[32] Spanish Primera Federación 29 5 3 0 32 5
2023–24[32] 15 7 0 0 15 7
Total 44 12 3 0 47 12
Career total 437 56 32 5 10 0 10 0 489 61

International edit

Scores and results list Equatorial Guinea's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Nsue goal.
List of international goals scored by Emilio Nsue[66]
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
24 March 2013 Estadio de Malabo, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea   Cape Verde 1–0 0–3[a] 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
2–1
3–2
1 17 January 2015 Estadio de Bata, Bata, Equatorial Guinea   Congo 1–0 1–1 2015 Africa Cup of Nations
2 14 June 2015 Estadio de Bata, Bata, Equatorial Guinea   Benin 1–1 1–1 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification
3 4 September 2016 Estadio de Malabo, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea   South Sudan 2–0 4–0 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification
4 9 October 2017 Estadio de Bata, Bata, Equatorial Guinea   Mauritius 1–0 3–1 Friendly
5 3–1
6 8 September 2018 Estadio de Bata, Bata, Equatorial Guinea   Sudan 1–0 1–0 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualification
7 22 March 2019 Al-Hilal Stadium, Omdurman, Sudan   Sudan 1–1 4–1 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualification
8 2–1
9 25 March 2019 King Fahd International Stadium, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia   Saudi Arabia 1–2 2–3 Friendly
10 2–3
11 8 September 2019 Estadio de Malabo, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea   South Sudan 1–0 1–0 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification
12 25 March 2021 Estadio de Malabo, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea   Tanzania 1–0 1–0 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualification
13 7 October 2021 Estadio de Malabo, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea   Zambia 2–0 2–0 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification
14 28 March 2023 Obed Itani Chilume Stadium, Francistown, Botswana   Botswana 1–0 3–2 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification
15 6 September 2023 Estadio de Malabo, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea   Tunisia 1–0 1–0 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification
16 15 November 2023 Estadio de Malabo, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea   Namibia 1–0 1–0 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification
17 20 November 2023 Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex, Monrovia, Liberia   Liberia 1–0 1–0 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification
18 18 January 2024 Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Abidjan, Ivory Coast   Guinea-Bissau 1–0 4–2 2023 Africa Cup of Nations
19 3–1
20 4–1
21 22 January 2024 Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Abidjan, Ivory Coast   Ivory Coast 1–0 4–0 2023 Africa Cup of Nations
22 3–0
  1. ^ Match forfeited.[67]

Honours edit

Spain U19

Spain U20

Spain U21

Individual

References edit

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External links edit