Celestine Babayaro

Born 29th August, 1978, Kaduna, Nigeria.

Current club: Newcastle United.

Previous clubs: Anderlecht, Chelsea.

Position: Defender; usually left full-back

A quick and skillful player, Celestine Babayaro's exploits in helping the Nigerian under-21s win the gold medal in the 1996 Olympic Games - which included a goal in the final - persuaded Chelsea to fork out £STG2.25 million to Anderlecht for the then 19-year-old's services.

Babayaro's Chelsea career began rather slowly, due to injury problems, but during the '98-'99 season, he had an extended run in the team, displacing crowd favourite Graham Le Saux at left-back. Le Saux eventually found a place on the left wing, and the two linked up very effectively when they played together, being two of the finest left-footed players to wear the blue jersey.

Still only 25, Babayaro has made nearly 200 appearances for Chelsea, as well as almost 30 caps for Nigeria; although he now has serious competition for the left-back spot at Chelsea in the form of Wayne Bridge, he still plays regularly; although he, along with a number of other top Premiership players, will be away representing his country at the African Nations Cup - which has been a contentious issue with several Premiership managers who would prefer their players to put club ahead of country.

As I mentioned, Babayaro is a left-footed player, and a quick and skillful one at that. He excels at man-marking, is good in the air, and loves to get forward. Being a defender, he rarely scores, but when he does, he celebrates with a spectacular somersault. While he could be somewhat inconsistent earlier on in his career, he has matured into a solid and dependable defender.

In January 2005, Celestine, whose left full-back spot is now usually taken by Bridge, Paulo Ferreira or William Gallas, was sold to Newcastle United for a fee of around STGĀ£1 million.


  • http://www.chelseafc.com
    The Official Chelsea FC website
  • http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/shared/bsp/hi/football/statistics/teams/c/chelsea/players/33308/html/profile_hi.stm

    BBC profiles of Babayaro, both as a Chelsea player, and a Nigerian international.
  • http://www.soccernet.com/england/players/babayarocelestine.html
    ESPN Soccernet's slightly out-of-date profile of Celestine.

A submission for caknuck's Athletes and Sports Figures quest

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.