European Football

Nigerian Players Who Wore the famous Inter Milan-Pirelli Jersey

by: Victor


Inter Milan and Pirelli will bring their 26 years shirt sponsorship deal to an end this year. The famous Italian tyre manufacturer has been present on Inter Milan’s kits since 1995. Over that period of time, some Nigerian players have dawned the famous black and blue stripped jersey. While some had a fantastic spell at the club, a few had a non existent spell there.

Kanu Nwanko : 1996/97 – 1999 (20 Appearances, 1 goal)

After winning the UCL with Ajax, Kanu sought for another challenge by signing for Luigi Simon’s Inter Milan side. The Italian league was the hottest property in the 1990’s so it was a perfect opportunity to showcases more of his footballing abilities. Before the season started, Kanu blew the footballing world apart with his fantastic displays at the Atlanta Olympics for Nigeria against Brazil and Argentina.

A young Kanu Nwanko during his Inter Milan days

The world looked forward to his partnership with the current footballer of the year but a medical condition struck and Kanu missed a season and half for Inter. He won the 1998 Uefa Cup from the bench for Inter Milan.

Taribo West : 1997 – 2000 (65 Appearances, 2 goals)

Arguably the best Nigerian to play for Inter Milan, Pastor Taribo West as he goes by these days heavily featured for Inter Milan in the 1997/98 season. He was a marshal and terror in defence. His coloured weird hairstyle and his dogged style of play automatically made him stand out in the crowd.

Taribo West wearing the famous Pirelli sponsored Jersey.

West scored the extra time winning goal against Schalke 04 in the semi finals of Inter Milan Uefa Cup triumph. Howbeit, he was red carded in the 82nd minute in the final against Lazio.

The following season, Pastor Taribo West played 21 times for Inter Milan in a season they failed to qualify for European competitions. He struggled to get playing time the season after and was eventually sold to arch-rival A.C Milan

Taribo West will be remembered for his tough and no-nonsense style of defending.

Obafemi Martins : 2001 – 2006 (136 Appearances, 46 goals, 13 assists)

Also known as the weapon of mass destruction, Obagoal, Martins is unarguably the greatest Nigerian ever to wear the Pirelli Jersey. Obafemi Akinwunmi Martins gave fans numerous unforgettable memories at the San Siro team.

After a successful trial at Inter Milan, Martins was drafted to Inter Milan’s youth team. He broke into the first team after winning the Campionato Nazionale Primavera for the youth squad scoring 23 goals.

Martins wearing his famous no.30 Pirelli jersey

In his debut season for Inter’s first team, his powerful left foot and small stature became a beautiful sight to behold at San Siro.

The 2004/2005 was Obafemi Martins best season at the club. His terrifying and memorable partnership with Adriano wreck havoc on many defenses and that goal he scored against the gunners at Highbury still rings a bell.

Martins celebrating one of his goals for Inter Milan

Martins will be remembered for his terrific speed, agility, powerful shots and his legendary back flips and Somersault goal celebrations. His hat-trick against Bologna in the coppa italia can’t be forgotten

Martins won two Coppa Italia titles and a Serie A trophy at the San Siro.

Isah Eliaku : 2002 – 2006 (No Appearance)

Isah Eliaku isn’t a name that rings a bell to the average football fan in Nigeria, a striker who was signed in 2002 from Reggiana but never made a first team appearance for Inter Milan. He had a few stint with the reserves before being shipped out on loan. He wasn’t opportune to wear the famous Pirelli shirt for the first team.

Isah Eliaku in one of Inter Milan’s team photos

Obinna Nsofor : 2008 – 2011 (11 appearances, 1 goal)

After a blistering time at Chievo, Inter Milan called on Nsofor and he obliged them. Nsofor found it difficult to break into an Inter Milan that showcased the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Crespo, Adriano, Quaresma. He won the Italian league under Jose Mourinho and spent his remaining contract years on loan

Nsofor celebrating with Ibrahimovic after a match

In a recent interview with , Obinna never felt regret for playing for Inter Milan, to put it clearly

it was very exciting when i signed for Inter, some of my compatriots like Taribo West, Kanu and Martins had all won the jersey and it was a dream for me to follow in their footsteps as a child”

Nsofor with his trademark somersault celebration

Obinna also stated that his only goal for Inter Milan was an unforgettable great feeling against a very strong inter Side.

Nwanko Obiora : 2010-2011 (4 Appearances)

Obiora is another Nigerian who had an infringe time at Inter Milan. Under Rafael Benitez, he managed to feature in only 4 games. Despite playing just four games, he won the Super Coppa italia and Fife World Club Cup trophies.

Obiora in a Uefa Champions League game

Joel Obi : 2010 – 2015 (69 Appearances, 2 goals)

A fantastic midfielder on his A days, Joel Obi just like Obagoal also broke through into the first team from the reserves. He waa promoted to the first team by Jose Mourinho.

Joel Obi before a league game

Joel had a decent time in the club, he won the 2011 Coppa Italia and Supa coppa cup. His switch from a defensive midfielder to central and attacking midfield made him viable when he is called upon. Joel Obi has plenty of praises for the managers he played under.

In my past, i have had great managers who had taught me a lot. One of the best was Jose Mourinho who promoted me to the first team, then, i think of Benitez who gave me first team debut. I have to thank them and Walter Mazzari

Joel Obi’s interview with

Victor Moses : 2019-2020 (20 Appearances, 3 assists)

Antonio Conte requested for his favourite right wing back Victor Moses to join him on loan at Inter Milan. Moses made a total of 20 games for Inter. Although injuries limited him from getting more playing time for Conte’s Inter.

Victor Moses was the last Nigerian to wear the Pirelli sponsored jersey

Victor Moses is the last Nigerian to wear the famous Pirelli shirt. One will recollect that Moses won the EPL and FA Cup under Conte at Stamford bridge.

Conte is the best coach i have ever had. He helped me believe in myself and the point is precisely in the human attitude, not because i found a new position on the right wing




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