Yakubu Aiyegbeni (born November 22, 1982 in Benin City, Nigeria), often known as Yakubu, is a Nigerian football player, who currently plays for Middlesbrough.
A powerful striker, Yakubu started his career at Israeli team Maccabi Haifa, where he won two championships and had a phenomenal scoring record both in the domestic and international competitions - breaking several club records. After scoring 7 goals in 8 European Cup appearances (including a hat-trick against Olympiakos) in the 2002/03 season UEFA Champions League, Yakubu moved to English club Portsmouth in January 2003
His goals helped fire Portsmouth to the Division One (now Football League Championship) title, scoring at a rate of one goal every two games.
During the club's debut Premiership season, during which they finished 13th, he scored 16 times in 35 starts. During the summer of 2004 several other Premiership teams were interested in purchasing Yakubu for up to ú10 million, but he chose to stay and help consolidate the club's Premiership position.
After the 2004-05 season, he transferred from Pompey to Boro for a ú7.5 million fee. In one if his most memorable matches since joining Boro, Yakubu (Man Of The Match) scored the third goal in a rampant 3-0 win over runaway premiership leaders Chelsea, ensuring their second defeat of the season. Middlesbrough also had a memorable 4-1 home win against Manchester United, and a 2-1 win over Arsenal, with the Yak scoring in all 3 games
Yakubu scored the only goal of the game with a penalty in the first leg of the UEFA Cup last 16 round at home against A.S. Roma, giving Middlesbrough a 1-0 victory. Middlesbrough later went through on away goals, despite losing 1-2 in the Olimpico.
A stat which pays homage to "the Yak's" formidable scoring record is that, on his current goals to game ratio, he will overtake Alan Shearer and become the Premiership's highest ever scorer if he goes on to play as many games as the England legend.
He has been capped several times for Nigeria, and is a regular in the national team. At the end of 2005, shortly before the African Nations Cup preparation camp for the Nigerian national team was about to start, Yakubu rejected the call-up to the camp opting to play an important role for Middlesbrough, meaning that he was not selected for the 2006 Nations Cup.
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