Finidi George

George Finidi (born 15 April 1971), known as Finidi George,[1] is a Nigerian retired footballer who played as a right winger.

Finidi George
Personal information
Full name George Finidi
Date of birth (1971-04-15) 15 April 1971 (age 50)
Place of birth Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Height 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Position(s) Winger
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
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)
Total 295 (68)
National team
1991–2002 Nigeria 62 (6)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

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.

Finidi was an important member of the Nigeria team during the 1990s, appearing in two World Cups.

Finidi played throughout his footballing career for Nigeria with his iconic number 7 Jersey.

Club careerEdit

Born in Port Harcourt, Finidi 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]

On 10 July 1996, Finidi moved to Spain and signed with Real Betis for 1,024 million pesetas,[3] 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 to FC Barcelona (2–3 after extra time), where he scored;[4] before joining the club he was close to moving to Real Madrid, but the deal fell through.[5]

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,[6] for £3.1 million.[7] He scored twice in a 3–1 victory over Derby County at Portman Road[8] but underperformed overall, with them also suffering relegation; he was released from contract in June 2003.[9]

In November 2003, the 32-year-old Finidi underwent a trial at former club Mallorca,[10] following which he signed with the Balearic Islands team,[11] 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.[12]

International careerEdit

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 rout. He helped the national team win the 1994 edition of the tournament in Tunisia,[13] and also achieved one second[14] and two third-place finishes.[15][16]

Finidi represented Nigeria in two FIFA World Cups, 1994 and 1998.[17] 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.[18][19]

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,[20] and earned a total of 62 caps.

Style of playEdit

Considered to be one of Nigeria's greatest wingers, Finidi was a tall player who was known for his pace and dribbling skills.[21]

Personal lifeEdit

Finidi means "Future full of sun" in his language. Two of his 11 brothers, Igeniwari and Celestine, were also footballers, and the former was killed during crowd problems in a match.[1]

HonoursEdit

ClubEdit

Ajax

Betis

InternationalEdit

Nigeria

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Winter, Henry (21 September 2001). "On the Spot: Finidi George". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Kluivert strikes as Ajax force changing of the guard". UEFA. 24 May 1995. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  3. ^ Roldan, Santiago (10 July 1996). "El Betis paga 1.024 millones por Finidi y se lo arrebata al Madrid" [Betis pay 1.024 million for Finidi and snatch him from Madrid]. El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  4. ^ a b Domènech, Joan (29 June 1997). "Barça de titanes" [Titanic Barça]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  5. ^ Coerts, Stefan (22 March 2012). "Finidi George: I almost joined Real Madrid in 1996". Goal. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
  6. ^ "Finidi passes Ipswich medical". BBC Sport. 4 August 2001. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  7. ^ "Finidi agrees Ipswich move". BBC Sport. 16 August 2001. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  8. ^ Thorpe, Martin (22 August 2001). "Finidi kick-starts Tractor Boys". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  9. ^ Heffernan, Conor (19 May 2015). "The rise and fall of Ipswich in the Premier League". These Football Times. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  10. ^ "Finidi returns to Spain". BBC Sport. 18 November 2003. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  11. ^ "Finidi returns to Mallorca". BBC Sport. 8 January 2004. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  12. ^ "Finidi George: I am proud to be back in Real Betis". All Nigeria Soccer. 18 November 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  13. ^ a b Bobrowsky, Josef; Stokkermans, Karel; Mazet, François. "African Nations Cup 1994". RSSSF. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  14. ^ a b Courtney, Barrie. "African Nations Cup 2000 – Final Tournament Details". RSSSF. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  15. ^ a b Bobrowsky, Josef; Mazet, François. "African Nations Cup 1992". RSSSF. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  16. ^ a b Duret, Sébastien. "African Nations Cup 2002 – Final Tournament Details". RSSSF. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  17. ^ Finidi GeorgeFIFA competition record
  18. ^ "Top 10 dodgy goal celebrations". The Daily Telegraph. 11 November 2008. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  19. ^ Carter, Jon (26 May 2010). "First XI: World Cup celebrations". ESPN Soccernet. Archived from the original on 3 June 2010. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  20. ^ Obayiuwana, Osasu (30 December 2001). "Finidi quits after World Cup". BBC Sport. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  21. ^ Potts Harmer, Alfie (3 July 2017). "All-time greatest Nigeria squad". Here Is The City. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  22. ^ "1995/96 AFC Ajax 1–1 Juventus, Juve win 4–2 on pens: Report". UEFA. 18 July 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2020.

External linksEdit