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Celestine Babayaro
Personal information
Full name Celestine Hycieth Babayaro
Date of birth August 29, 1978 (1978-08-29) (age 31)
Place of birth    Kaduna, Nigeria
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9+12 in)
Playing position Left Back / Left Midfielder
Youth career
1994 Plateau United
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
Newcastle United
075 (8)
132 (5)
047 (0)
National team2
1995–2004 Nigeria 026 (0)

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only and
correct as of 20:13, 10 June 2007 (UTC).
2 National team caps and goals correct
as of 20:48, 06 May 2007 (UTC).
* Appearances (Goals)

Olympic medal record
Competitor for  Nigeria
Men's Football
Gold 1996 Atlanta Team Competition

Celestine Hycieth Babayaro (born August 29, 1978 in Kaduna) is a Nigerian footballer who plays left-back and is currently a free agent.





Babayaro began his playing career at Nigerian side Plateau United, before moving to Belgium giants R.S.C. Anderlecht in 1994, and eventually would make a name for himself, quickly gaining first-choice status although still a teenager.

Babayaro was purchased by Chelsea F.C. in April 1997 for £2.25m million - a club record paid for a teenager at the time. During his time there, the team won the FA Cup and Charity Shield in 2000, and reached the FA Cup finals in 2002. He faced competition from Graeme Le Saux during his seven-year spell, but managed to play over 200 games for the London side. His acrobatic celebrations with backflips were a highlight and loved by the Stamford Bridge faithful. The signing of Wayne Bridge saw Babayaro start only four English Premier League games for Chelsea in 2004-05 - their Premiership winning year.


In January 2005, he left Chelsea to join Newcastle United where he established himself as first choice left back. He scored his first and what turned out to be only Newcastle goal in a 3-1 win over Coventry City in the FA Cup.[1]

In September 2006, Babayaro was given a three-match ban by the Football Association for slapping Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt in the face while Liverpool took a corner. The slap wasn't seen by the referee but later videos showed Babayaro punch the Dutchman in the face. Babayaro accepted the allegations and apologised to Kuyt.

On 10 February 2007, after a 2-1 win over Liverpool, then-Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder revealed that just 12 hours before kick-off, Babayaro had called him saying his younger brother David had died from tuberculosis. Despite this, Babayaro insisted he would still play and put in a solid performance which earned him praise from Newcastle manager and fans. This fine form continued into United's 3-1 away victory against Zulte Waregem, in the UEFA Cup.[2]

Due to his many injury problems it was mutually decided, on 10 December 2007, that Babayaro should be released from his contract with immediate effect and a compensation figure was agreed.[3]

In January 2009 Newcastle's ex-chairman Freddy Shepherd described Babayaro as a "disgrace" who "didn't pull his weight" during a televised BBC interview. [4]

Recent Activity

On 21 January 2008, Babayaro came to an agreement with the Los Angeles Galaxy to join them on a three-year contract, effective immediately.[5] With this move, he re-joined Galaxy coach Ruud Gullit, whom he played for during his time at Chelsea. On March 3, he was surprisingly waived by the Galaxy after playing only 45 minutes in a pre-season friendly against FC Seoul receiving a yellow card and conceding a penalty in the process. The reason for this unexpected release is so far unknown. "After a period of evaluation, it was decided that it would be in the best interest of the club and the player to part ways,” Alexi Lalas, the team’s president and general manager, said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that it did not work out, but Ruud and our technical staff are hard at work putting together this team and difficult decisions have to be made."[6] During pre-season 2008, Babayaro trained with Portsmouth F.C. at the invitation of manager Harry Redknapp and with a view to the player signing for the FA Cup holders[7] On 14 August 2008 Redknapp revealed that he would not offer Babayaro a contract at Portsmouth [8].

International career

After being part of the victorious Nigerian team at the Under-17 World Championships in Japan (1993), Babayaro made his international senior debut in the Afro-Asian Championship in 1995, against Uzbekistan. The following year he was part of the Nigeria Olympic gold medal winning team at the Atlanta 96 football event, making the tournament's all-star team. He scored in the Gold Medal game itself against Argentina. After missing the entire 1997/98 Premier League season with a knee injury, Babayaro recovered just in time to make the France 98 squad. He was also Nigeria's captain at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, and took part in the Korea/Japan 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Babayaro was part of Nigeria's squad for the 2004 African Nations Cup in Tunisia, but was controversially sent home, alongside Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Victor Agali for indiscipline. Although never officially announcing his retirement from international football, he has not played for the national team ever since.


With Nigerian Football National Team

U - 17 World Cup: 1993

Olympic Gold Medal: 1996

With RSC Anderlecht

Jupiler League: 1995

Belgian Supercup: 1995

With Chelsea

UEFA Cup Winners Cup: 1998

UEFA Supercup: 1998

FA Cup: 2000


  • Babayaro's brother, Emmanuel, a goalkeeper, was also part of Nigeria's 1996 Olympics gold medal winning team.
  • Babayaro is the youngest player to play in the UEFA Champions League.
  • Babayaro is known to own 27 sheep on a farm in France.


External links

Preceded by
Olivier Doll
Belgian Young Footballer of the Year
Succeeded by
Emile Mpenza

Simple English

Celestine Babayaro
Personal information
Full name Celestine Hycieth Babayaro
Date of birth 29 August 1978 (1978-08-29) (age 32)
Place of birth    Kaduna, Nigeria
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9+12 in)
Playing position Defender (retired)
Senior clubs
Years Club
Newcastle United
Los Angeles Galaxy
National team
1995-2004 Nigeria

Celestine Babayaro (born 29 August 1978) is a former Nigerian football player. He has played for Nigeria national team.

Club career statistics


Club Performance League
SeasonClubLeague AppsGoals
1994/95AnderlechtFirst Division220
1997/98ChelseaPremier League80
2004/05Newcastle UnitedPremier League70
United StatesLeague
2008Los Angeles GalaxyMajor League Soccer00
CountryBelgium 758
England 1795
United States 00
Total 25413

International career statistics

Nigeria national team



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