Chelsea’s Super Eagles
Chelsea announced a partnership yesterday with Star Beer to be their “official Nigerian beer partner”. Star will sell Chelsea-branded bottles throughout Nigeria.
This provides an opportunity to look at five players, past and present, that link the club with Nigeria…
Born in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, before moving to England as a youngster, Moses began his career at the Crystal Palace youth academy. After establishing himself in their first team, he made the move to the Premier League by joining Wigan Athletic in 2010.
He made his senior debut with the Nigerian national team against Rwanda in February 2012 and joined Chelsea six months later, winning the Europa League while scoring 10 goals in his 43 appearances during his first season with the Blues.
Moses represented the Super Eagles at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, helping them win the competition for the first time since 1994.
Loan spells to Liverpool, Stoke and West Ham followed before Antonio Conte’s arrival heralded his return to the first-team, filling the right wing-back role in the Italian’s new system. He played a key part in our Premier League title success.
Mikel joined Chelsea in 2006 and enjoyed a successful decade stint at Chelsea. He made his first start for the Blues in a Champions League tie at Levski Sofia, before going on to make a total of 372 appearances in all competitions.
He was named Chelsea’s Young Player of the Year in 2007, and would go on to win two Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, and both the Champions League and Europa League with the club.
Our former number 12 is the captain of the national side and he won a bronze medal with the Super Eagles at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Interestingly, he played for Nigeria U20’s at the FIFA World Youth Championship in 2005 and he was named the second-best player in the competition behind Lionel Messi, as the African side were beaten by Argentina in the final.
Babayaro joined Chelsea when Ruud Gullit signed the young Nigerian defender in April 1997. He already had four international caps for the Super Eagles and would go on to earn 23 more during his time with the Blues.
Born in Kaduna in north-west Nigeria, he was part of the country’s Under-17 World Cup winning side, before winning a Belgian league and cup double with Anderlecht in the mid-nineties. Babayaro was part of the Nigeria side that won gold at the 1996 Olympics.
He made 132 league appearances for Chelsea, scoring five goals, before joining Newcastle United.
The defender joined Chelsea in 2012 following a spell with Standard Liege. He was loaned to Eredivisie side ADO Den Haag, where his performances were impressive enough to earn him a call up to the Nigeria squad ahead of their victorious 2013 Africa Cup of Nations campaign.
He has spent the past few seasons out on loan, making 33 appearances during a stint at Middlesbrough and is currently playing for Turkish side, Kasimpasa.
Omeruo, has 31 caps for the Super Eagles, having also represented the country at both Under-17 and Under-20 levels.
London-born Aina joined Chelsea as a youngster, rising through the academy ranks before being handed his first-team debut by Antonio Conte in the League Cup last season.
The right-back has twice won the FA Youth Cup with the Blues, as well as lifting the UEFA Youth League title on two occasions.
Ahead of this season, Aina moved to Championship side Hull City on a season long loan and recently earned his first senior international call up as he was named in the Nigeria squad for their World Cup qualifier against Cameroon.
A version of this article first appeared on the Chelsea FC website.