The former Super Eagles forward has brought an end to his time as a footballer on his 35th birthday. Yakubu Aiyegbeni announced his retirement from playing football on Wednesday, at the age of 35.
‘The Yak’ began his career at Julius Berger in 1996 before joining Maccabi Haifa after completing his loan move from Gil Vicente.
He shot into limelight in the 2002–03 season – scoring seven goals in eight European Cup appearances including a hat-trick against Olympiakos and a penalty in the 3–0 win over Manchester United.
His 21 goals in 57 appearances for the Nigerian national team is the third highest by any Super Eagles player.
“I would like to officially announce my retirement from professional football today,” Aiyegbeni told Sky Sports News.
“Firstly, I would like to thank God for the career I have had. I would like to thank the entire Nigerian Football Federation and my Nigerian national team-mates for all the memorable years I had playing for the Super Eagles.
“I would also like to thank all the football clubs I played for. The managers, all club staff, owners, fellow players and my dearest family and friends who immensely supported me throughout my career.
“When I started my career at Julius Berger in Nigeria all those years ago (1997) I could only have dreamt of the success that was to follow years after.
“Also playing in England especially helped me grow as a player and as a person so much that I am now settled here. I feel the time is right for me to now focus on the next chapter in my life.”
Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) has sent birthday wishes to former Super Eagles striker, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, who clocked 35 years on Wednesday.
FIFA sent the birthday greetings on their verified Twitter handle on Wednesday.
Aiyegbeni made his full Super Eagles debut on 22 April 2000 in a 4–0 home win in Lagos against Eritrea – a Mali 2002 African Cup of Nations qualifying match.
He represented Nigeria at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games football event where the U-23 Eagles got to the quarter-finals and lost 4-1 to Chile.
Also he was at the Mali 2002, Tunisia 2004, Ghana 2008 and Angola 2010 Africa Cup of Nations. He was sent home at the 2004 AFCON alongside Victor Agali and Celestine Babayaro for indiscipline.
His last major tournament for Nigeria was at the South Africa 2010 World Cup where he scored one goal in a 2-2 draw against South Korea in a group game .
Aiyegbeni will be remembered for failing to convert begging chance to goal also against South Korea which cost Nigeria a place in round 16 at the 2010 World Cup.