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Lomana LuaLua
A black man with a shaved head smiling directly at the camera. He is wearing a white t-shirt and is standing on a street next to a fair haired man who is partially visible.
Personal information
Full name Lomana Trésor LuaLua
Date of birth 28 December 1980 (1980-12-28) (age 29)
Place of birth Kinshasa, Zaire (now DR Congo)
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Striker / Winger
Club information
Current club Olympiakos
Number 32
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1998–2000 Colchester United 61 (15)
2000–2004 Newcastle United 88 (9)
2004 Portsmouth (loan) 15 (4)
2004–2007 Portsmouth 72 (15)
2007–2008 Olympiakos 21 (5)
2008–2009 Al-Arabi 11 (2)
2010– Olympiakos 8 (3)
National team
2002– DR Congo 31 (18)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23:10, 18 July 2008 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 12:00, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

Lomana Trésor LuaLua (pronounced /ləˈmɑːnə ˈtreɪzɔr luːɑːluːˈɑː/, born 28 December 1980) is a footballer who plays for Greek side Olympiakos and the Congo DR national football team.

LuaLua was born in Kinshasa but moved to the United Kingdom at a young age. After impressing in a college football match, he signed for Colchester United. There he scored a total of 21 goals in 68 appearances which prompted Newcastle United to sign him. However, the competition for places meant he was less of a regular in the first team and after four seasons and 88 appearances there he transferred to Portsmouth, the club that had previously loaned him for three months while at Newcastle. He remained there for three seasons but his spell was marred by disciplinary problems and malaria. After this, he moved to Greek club Olympiakos and spent a season there, helping them to win their fourth straight Super League Greece title, before joining Al-Arabi in 2008. LuaLua received his first cap in 2002, and has since represented his national team in the 2004 and 2006 Africa Cup of Nations.

LuaLua is also known for setting up the LuaLua Foundation, which provides care for orphans in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and for being a patron for the Haslar Visitors Group. He has a brother, Kazenga LuaLua, who plays for Newcastle United, and two cousins who play professional football: Leeds United striker Trésor Kandol and Barnet's Yannick Bolasie. During the 2006 African Cup of Nations, LuaLua's son died of pneumonia and he considered retiring from football after receiving abuse over the internet. However, he continued playing. He was arrested twice within the space of four months in 2006 and 2007. Both incidents related to supposed domestic disputes with his partner and he was cleared of all charges.


Early life

LuaLua was born in Kinshasa, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo), in 1980, but moved to the United Kingdom as a young boy in 1989.[1] His family settled in Forest Gate in London; there, he attended Forest Gate Community School and started to play football at the age of 16, while also being involved in gymnastics.[2][3] LuaLua represented his school at football after he was spotted kicking a tennis ball around in the playground.[4] He was playing for Leyton Sixth Form College, where he studied performing arts, when he was spotted at the age of 17 by Third Division side, Colchester United. Geoff Harrop, a scout for Colchester College's football team, was impressed by LuaLua's performance, "He was taking on the whole team by the end of the game and it wasn't hard to pick him out among 22 young 17-year-olds." Harrop invited the striker for a trial at Colchester United and he was signed by the club.[3][5]

His brother, Kazenga LuaLua, is also a professional footballer,[6] and two of his cousins also play professionally; Yala Bolasie,[7] and Trésor Kandol.[8]

Club career

Colchester United

LuaLua joined Colchester United in September 1998.[9] Initially, he struggled to adapt and he preferred going to nightclubs over playing for Colchester, Harrop says, "It took a lot of hard work by the staff at Colchester. Micky Cook, the director of youth, had to spend endless hours with him and [manager] Steve Wignall and then [the next manager] Steve Whitton had to spend a lot of time with him talking him through the tactical side of the game and what his role was within the team".[5] LuaLua scored within four minutes of his debut where he appeared as a substitute in a 3–1 defeat to Chesterfield.[3][4] In two seasons, he made 68 league and cup appearances for Colchester, 44 starts and 24 substitute appearances, scoring a total of 21 goals.[9] His performances attracted the attention of several Premiership clubs and despite manager Steve Whitton's denial that LuaLua was for sale, LuaLua joined Newcastle United in September 2000 for a fee of £2.25 million.[10][11] An earlier offer by Newcastle of £300,000 for LuaLua made by former manager, Ruud Gullit, had been rejected, but the much increased bid offered financial security and assistance towards a new ground and was one that Colchester felt they could not turn down.[11][12]

Newcastle United

An elderly man with grey hair smiling at the camera. He is in a football stadium and is wearing a black suit with a multi-coloured tie and a green scarf.
Bobby Robson saw LuaLua as a "very promising talent"

LuaLua had been brought to the attention of Newcastle manager, Bobby Robson, by Mick Wadsworth, head coach at Newcastle United, who was a former manager of Colchester.[11] Robson watched LuaLua before deciding to negotiate the transfer, and said, "I see [LuaLua] as a special talent. He has to learn how to play with the other players but he's a special new talent. He has to be nursed and cherished and taught. But we are buying long-term a very promising talent, a very promising player."[11] LuaLua signed a five-year contract with the club.[11] He made his first-team debut in a 1–0 home defeat to Charlton Athletic in September 2000 and made 23 league and cup appearances for Newcastle in the 2000–01 season without scoring.[9] He scored twice in Newcastle's Intertoto Cup campaign at the beginning of the 2001–02 season but his first Premiership goal did not come until April 2002, when he scored a last-minute winner in a 3–2 away win against Derby County.[13] He scored a further two goals in the remaining four games of the season.[9] LuaLua's goalscoring form continued to the beginning of the 2002–03 season when he scored three goals in his first four games.[9] Tougher competition for a first-team place meant that LuaLua made only 22 appearances in this season.[9] In January 2003, LuaLua urged Robson to rotate the squad, saying, "I think I deserve a chance now, as do many of the lads on the fringes of the team. Although some people might have the idea that those of us not in the team like sitting on the bench and getting paid good money, nothing could be further from the truth. I'm not in this for the money, I want to play for the first team and show what I can do on a regular basis."[14] LuaLua also spent much of the beginning of the 2003–04 season on the bench and in November 2003, complained about his lack of first-team football and indicated that he would consider leaving Newcastle.[15] In the Newcastle Chronicle, Robson responded, saying he would not take advice from a player about how to manage the side: "How dare he say this? I run this football club... LuaLua has been a pretty poor professional about all this. What he should do is keep his mouth shut and get out there and do what he is paid for."[16] In the end he made 88 league and cup appearances for Newcastle, scoring nine goals, having started 21 games and made 67 appearances as a substitute.[9]


In February 2004, after returning from the 2004 African Cup of Nations, he joined Portsmouth on a three-month loan deal with a view to a permanent deal at the end of the season.[17] LuaLua scored on his debut for Portsmouth in a 4–3 away defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in February 2003.[18] During this loan spell he scored in the 89th minute in a 1–1 draw for Portsmouth against parent club Newcastle.[19] The result lifted Portsmouth out of the bottom three of the Premiership.[20] He scored four goals in 15 appearances for Portsmouth as they finished in mid-table in their debut season in the Premiership. Manager Harry Redknapp was sufficiently impressed with LuaLua's performances that when his loan spell ended at the end of the 2003–04 season, he signed LuaLua permanently at a cost of £1.75 million.[21]

"I think Lua showed a little bit of a reaction. He has apologised to us for it. I think Lua has touched foreheads with the lad,"

Joe Jordan, then a coach at Portsmouth, commenting on LuaLua's dismissal against Blackburn Rovers.[22]

LuaLua made 26 league and cup appearances, scoring six goals, including two against local rivals Southampton, in the 2004–05 season.[9] The season was marred by a groin injury at the beginning and a hamstring injury in May 2005.[23][24][25] Disciplinary problems led to charges by the Football Association of abusive behaviour in December 2004 and improper conduct after he was sent off against Blackburn Rovers in January 2005, for which he received an extra one-match ban and a fine of £5,000 in addition to a three-match ban for the dismissal.[22][26] He made 26 appearances in the 2005–06 season, scoring seven goals, but missed several games in the autumn after contracting malaria on a visit to Africa to play for DR Congo.[27][28] He also missed several games due to international duty at the 2004 African Cup of Nations and missed games in April 2006 after damaging his foot while doing his acrobatic goal celebration during a game against Arsenal.[29][30][31] His disciplinary problems continued when he was warned by the Football Association over his future conduct; this came after he admitted a charge of improper conduct in relation to comments made about referee Uriah Rennie after a 3–1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur in December.[32] LuaLua signed a new three-year contract in July 2006; it was set to keep him at Portsmouth until 2009.[33] An ankle injury suffered in a pre-season friendly led to LuaLua missing the beginning of the 2006–07 season.[34][35] He struggled to break back into the first-team, making only eight starts out of 24 appearances, and scored only two goals in that season.[36] Manager Harry Redknapp warned him that he needed to "...start performing" and that he had to "...start producing next season".[36] However, he joined Greek club Olympiakos in August 2007 and Redknapp admitted that, "Lua wants to move on... I've no doubt he'll go away and be a great player for Olympiakos. He wants a change, he wants to play in a role behind the strikers and he wants to move abroad. He will get to play in the Champions League by moving to Greece. He has been a top Premier League player and he'll be a top player for them."[37]


LuaLua joined Olympiakos for a fee of around £2.8 million (€4.1 million) in August 2007, signing a three-year contract.[37] He made his 2007–08 Super League debut in a 0–0 draw with Panathinaikos on 2 September.[38] His first goals for his new club came in the following Super League fixture when he scored twice in Olympiakos' 6–2 victory against OFI Crete on 23 September.[39] LuaLua opened the scoring with a 30-yard volley and contributed to a historic 4–0 victory in a cup-tie against arch-rivals Panathinaikos in January 2008.[40] An ankle injury kept him out of Olympiakos' Champions League first leg tie with Chelsea in February.[41] A more serious injury, a dislocated shoulder, suffered during a Super League game against Asteras Tripolis in March,[42] meant he missed the second leg Champions League match against Chelsea too.[41] He was out of action for most of the rest of the season, returning against Iraklis in late April to help Olympiakos win a fourth straight Greek championship.[43] He fell out of favour shortly before the Greek Cup final in May and was placed on the transfer list.[44] He had scored six goals in 30 appearances for Olympiakos.[45]


Following his injury hit spell at Olympiakos, LuaLua joined Qatar based club Al-Arabi on a one-year contract in July 2008.[46] According to LuaLua's official website, he rejected offers from clubs in Russia, Spain and Saudi Arabia deciding that the offer was too good to refuse. He cited the departure of the manager and sporting director, who brought him to Olympiakos, as a reason for his departure from the Greek club.[47] On 30 October, Al-Arabi won the Sheikh Jassem Cup, beating Al-Rayyan Club 3–0 in the final with LuaLua scoring one goal in the seventh minute.[48] In the 21st week of the 2008–09 season, on 20 February 2009, LuaLua scored his first league goal for the club in a 4–2 defeat to Al-Khor. His only other goal for that season came in a 1–0 win over Al-Kharitiyath on 16 April.[49]

Olympiakos return

During December 2009, LuaLua left Al-Arabi by mutual consent and rejoined Olympiakos on a six month contract with an option for the club to extend the contract for two years. Lua Lua scored his First goals upon return to Olympiakos, with 2 against Asteras Tripolis[50][51]

International career

LuaLua was first named by the Democratic Republic of Congo in the preliminary squad for the African Nations Cup finals in Mali in January 2002.[1][52] He played in the 0–0 draw with Togo,[53] 1–0 loss to Cameroon,[54] 3–1 win over Ivory Coast and the quarter-final game against Senegal, which DR Congo lost 2–0 amid some controversy.[55][56] LuaLua blamed the referee Domenico Messina for the defeat, "We had a lot of fouls which the referee didn't give and there was a penalty right in front of him but he just let the game go on, sometimes they [the Senegalese] fell over without being touched, screamed and the referee just gave the foul to them."[57]

"Lomana knows he's been stupid. He knew he was going to be under pressure and he knew he was going to get provoked... but I don't like the way their players behaved. They were taking dives all over the place. That's not fair play. It's disgraceful."

DR Congo manager Mick Wadsworth, who was also assistant manager at Newcastle during Robson's reign, agreed with LuaLua about the conduct of the Tunisia players in their 2004 African Nations Cup match.[58]

DR Congo's qualifying campaign for the 2004 African Nations Cup in Tunisia began six months after the 2002 tournament ended, with a match against Libya on 8 September, Libya won the match 3–2.[59] LuaLua initially indicated that he might not play in this game but did so reluctantly after threats were made to his family, which caused him to reconsider his international career. Robson commented, "He didn't want to go and play in that game. But he said he had to go because his grandmother had been threatened."[60] He played in the 2–0 win over Botswana in October 2002, when he scored inside five minutes but was later sent off for dissent.[61] He was suspended for two games and his next appearance was in the 0–0 draw with Botswana in July 2003, which secured qualification for the finals of the competition.[62] LuaLua initially expressed doubts that he would take part in the finals due to club commitments.[63] He was, however, included in the squad and named as captain in the absence of regular captain, Shabani Nonda, who missed the tournament due to a knee injury.[64][65] LuaLua said on being named as captain, "When Shabani plays, it takes the pressure off me but now everyone's now looking to me for leadership and I feel honoured."[65] He appeared in the first game of the tournament, a 2–1 defeat to Guinea,[66] but in the next game against the hosts Tunisia, he was sent off, reacting angrily and taking several minutes to leave the pitch.[58] DR Congo went on to lose the game and were eliminated from the tournament.[58] Following his sending off, LuaLua considered giving up international football and criticised the behaviour of the Tunisia players during the game and the organisation of the tournament.[58] He later criticised the national football federation of DR Congo, Fédération Congolaise de Football-Association (FECOFA), blaming them for the poor state of the national side, but said that he would continue to be available for international selection because "I can never turn my back on my country. I play for Congo because I am proud to do it",[67] and apologised to his country for his sending off against Tunisia.[68]

LuaLua received a four-match suspension for the sending-off and missed several 2006 World Cup qualifying round matches during the summer of June 2004.[69] He was selected for the World Cup qualifier against South Africa in September, but missed the game due to injury,[70] and was dropped for the next qualifier against Ghana in October.[71] He missed the 1–1 draw with Ghana in March 2005 after a dispute with the DR Congo football association but committed himself to the match against Uganda in June.[72] He scored in a friendly against Guinea played in Paris in August, a game used as preparation for the World Cup qualifying matches the following month.[73] LuaLua played for DR Congo in the 2–1 win over Cape Verde in September but contracted malaria and missed the final World Cup qualifier against South Africa in October.[74][75]

"We are still waiting for it to be resolved but we are united and as captain I'll stick up for everyone."

LuaLua, speaking after the 2–0 victory over Togo. Before the match DR Congo's president Joseph Kabila promised the pay dispute would be resolved.[76]

LuaLua was recalled to the DR Congo squad for a friendly against Tunisia played near Paris in November 2005, as part of the countries' preparation for the 2006 African Nations Cup held in Egypt in January and February 2006.[77] He was unable to play, however, after he was one of several players refused a visa by French immigration authorities.[78] He was named as the captain of DR Congo for the tournament in place of Shabani Nonda who was injured for a second successive Nations Cup.[79] He then delayed his departure to be available to his club Portsmouth for a crucial league match,[80] missing a friendly with Senegal.[81] Despite a pay dispute leading to the DR Congo players threatening to boycott the game, which was only resolved shortly before the kickoff,[76] he returned to the side for DR Congo's opening game of the tournament against Togo, assisting in one goal and scoring the other in a 2–0 win.[82] He appeared against Angola and Cameroon as DR Congo qualified for the quarter-finals stage of the tournament,[83][84] only to be beaten by the hosts Egypt.[85] LuaLua's 18-month old son died while he was playing in the tournament,[86] but the news was not given to him until after DR Congo was eliminated from the tournament as the DR Congo football authorities felt it better not to tell him so as to avoid distracting him.[87]

In the 2008 African Nations Cup qualifier against Ethiopia in April 2007, LuaLua scored the second goal in a 2–0 victory; the result extended their lead at the top of their group.[88][89] He did not travel to Ethiopia for the away fixture in June, which DR Congo lost, as the authorities failed to send LuaLua his travel documents in time.[90][91] Following the failure of DR Congo to qualify for the tournament in October, the DR Congo sports minister, Pardonne Kaliba, suspended the team coach, Henri Depireux, and removed the captaincy from LuaLua.[92]

LuaLua returned to the DR Congo squad in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Egypt in June 2008.[93] After returning to Greece, he complained of severe stomach pain and was rushed to hospital to have his appendix removed, ruling him out of subsequent matches for four to six weeks,[94] as DR Congo moved to the top of Group 12 in the Second Round.[95] Despite topping the group at that point, DR Congo were later eliminated at this stage and therefore failed to progress to the Third Round of qualifying.[96]

Personal life

In 2005, LuaLua became patron of the Haslar Visitors Group, a charity that works with detainees in an immigration removal centre.[97] In the following year, he set up the LuaLua Foundation, building a hostel, sport and education complex in Kinshasa to provide care and education for orphaned children in DR Congo.[98][99] He is also actively involved in the Show Racism The Red Card campaign and was involved in the launch of a new video entitled "A Safe Place" which features Premiership footballers talking about their experiences with racism.[100][101] LuaLua is a born-again Christian and his former team mate at Portsmouth, Linvoy Primus, was quoted saying "We are not scared to say we pray together before games. About 45 minutes before a game we link our arms and just pray that we can glorify God."[102][103]

"It was a story that made big headlines last week but I have to re-iterate the point that it was just a handful of individuals who had written this poison and I'd like to think that they are not real Portsmouth fans."

LuaLua posting on his blog about the minority of Portsmouth fans who taunted him.[101]

Before the death of his son, LuaLua was the father of three children.[87] On 5 October 2006, he was arrested following a domestic dispute with his fiancée Natalie. He was not charged and was released that evening. Three months later, on 19 January 2007, it was announced that LuaLua was arrested again; this time it was on suspicion of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.[104] He was later released on bail after being held for 15 hours, the incident was again relating to a dispute with his partner.[105] Following the death of his son, Jesus, from pneumonia he was subjected to abuse over the internet. LuaLua considered retirement after reading insults left on forums run by Portsmouth fans, the messages referred to him as a "wife-beater" and users said they were "glad his son was dead".[106] LuaLua responded to the insults on his blog, "I just wanted to run away from my problems. But then I looked in the mirror and said to myself "you're a fighter, now turn this negative into a positive" and that's exactly what I did".[101] The player himself credited Avram Grant, director of football for Portsmouth at the time, with helping him overcome the abuse so he could continue his football career.[107]

LuaLua is known for a spectacular goal celebration, which consists of seven back flips and a backward somersault; the celebration stems from his interest in gymnastics.[108] LuaLua wrote the foreword in the autobiography of his former manager Steve Wignall, the book was called "You Can Have Chips".[109]


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External links

Simple English

Lomana LuaLua
Personal information
Full name Lomana Trésor LuaLua
Date of birth 28 December 1980 (1980-12-28) (age 30)
Place of birth    Kinshasa, Zaire
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current club Olympiacos
Number 32
Senior clubs
Years Club
Colchester United
Newcastle United
Al-Arabi Doha
National team
2002-2009 Congo DR

Lomana LuaLua (born 28 December 1980) is a Democratic Republic of the Congo football player. He plays for Olympiacos and Congo DR national team.

Club career statistics


Club Performance League
SeasonClubLeague AppsGoals
1998/99Colchester UnitedSecond Division131
2000/01Newcastle UnitedPremier League210
2003/04PortsmouthPremier League154
2007/08OlympiacosSuper League215
2008/09Al-Arabi DohaStars League112
2009/10OlympiacosSuper League
CountryEngland 20739
Greece 215
Qatar 112
Total 23946

International career statistics

Congo DR national team


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