‘I hope he breaks it’ – Yakubu backs Crotone’s Nwankwo to usurp his Nigerian record in Europe


The Nigerian football great has revealed he wants the Italy based forward to exceed the mark he achieved in Europe

Fifa legend Yakubu Ayegbeni is rooting for Simeon Nwankwo to exceed his prolific goalscoring haul in Europe to become the new Nigeria record-holder.

The Crotone striker was among the goalscorers as his relegation-threatened team crumbled 3-2 to Spezia in Saturday’s Serie A encounter.

In the five-goal thriller, Nwankwo gave his team a 2-1 lead at the Stadio Alberto Picco after profiting from an assist from Niccolo Zanellato.

As a result of his latest strike, he now boasts 16 goals in the 2020-21 campaign to move closer to Ayegbeni’s European league mark of 17 goals in a single, top-five European League campaign by a Nigerian.

‘The Yak’ achieved this mark in his maiden season at Blackburn Rovers during the 2011-12 campaign, after joining the Riversiders from Everton.

Needing two more goals to overtake his benchmark, the former Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Everton and Leicester City star is backing the 28-year-old, while praising him for his awe-inspiring exploits for Serse Cosmi’s side.

“Records are always meant to be broken. I hope he breaks it and I wish him all the very best in his quest to do that. Also, I want to say well done to him for his goalscoring form this season,” Ayegben told Goal.

Yakubu Ayegbeni

After a remarkable spell at Israeli outfit Maccabi Haifa, the bulky forward joined Portsmouth initially on loan; however, he completed a permanent switch after helping Harry Redknapp’s team earn an English top-flight berth.

In his maiden English top-flight outing, he featured in 37 of Pompey’s 38 games in 2003–04, scoring 16 goals which made him the club’s leading goalscorer, and the joint-sixth highest scorer.

The Nigerian scored 28 Premier League goals between two seasons which makes him Portsmouth’s highest-ever scorer in English top-flight history.

‘The Yak’ joined Middlesbrough for a £7.5 million record fee before making stops at Everton, Leicester City and Blackburn Rovers before heading for China, where he teamed up with Guangzhou R&F Football Club and then, Qatar’s Al-Rayyan.

It is worthy of note that he is the third-highest goalscoring African in the English elite division history with 95 goals behind Emmanuel Adebayor (97 goals) and Didier Drogba (104 goals).

Nwankwo – who has now overtaken Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli) and Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan) on the Italian topscorer’s chart – would be hoping to continue his impressive goalscoring when Crotone try Udinese for size on April 17.


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