How did you become a footballer?

I started my football journey on the streets of Ajegunle in Lagos. I started playing football at the famous White Sand Field in Ajegunle and I still visit there whenever I’m in Nigeria. I never believed I would be this successful in football when I started out on the streets because I suffered a lot. But I did not allow that to affect me. My mother and my elder brother, Dickson, who also played football, kept faith in me, which spurred me on. After distinguishing myself in Ajegunle, I joined a team, Velje, in Sweden in 2006 but the trip was a misadventure because I returned home after three years, following the dissolution of the club. But my performance at the club didn’t go unnoticed, as I received more offers from Italian clubs after almost a year at home. It was in Italy that I met the father of Marco Materazzi, who introduced me to an agent who took me to Romania. There, I started from the second division because the coach said I was not good enough for the first division. But after scoring eight goals in five matches, I was moved back to the first division and it was from here that I moved to Israel and now Turkey.

Was there at any point you thought of quitting football?

Quitting was not an option then, because football was the only way. I followed the part of my brother and the support my mother gave me meant I could not afford to fail.

What other job would you have done if you were not a footballer?

I would have been a musician, a dancer or an actor. I love showbiz a lot.

What do you do before and after a game?

I listen to music that inspires me a lot and I also pray. Those are my pre-match rituals and it has always worked for me.

Who’s the toughest opponent you’ve played against?

I have faced so many tough opponents in my career, so I can’t say which one is the toughest, so, permit me to make a list of some: Thiago Silva and Ricardo Carvalho.

You had a touchline chat with Jose Mourinho during Trabzonspor’s UEFA League Conference game versus AS Rome in Rome. What did the Portuguese manager tell you?

It was just an accolade from him and of course, you know he is a genius. But I didn’t allow myself to be distracted during the game. He said nice words to me and that from a man who won every title in the leagues he coached meant a lot.

What’s your favourite meal and why do you prefer it?

I love rice and peppered sauce and beef.

Have you been racially abused while in Europe?

I have never been racially abused before but our team have been booed off the pitch once, when our performance didn’t match the expectations of our fans. I just think it is a normal thing in football for opponents to boo opposing players. For example, when we play Maccabi Haifa, the fans booed me and it’s their home. I think it’s normal because no fan will clap for you in their home. I looked at them and smiled and they started clapping for me. That kind of thing doesn’t get to me because I don’t care who boos me or not. I just want to play my game. I am the kind of guy who’s always happy wherever he finds himself. I’m in Turkey right now and I just want to play well and help the team win another title before I leave. If I am going to move, it is in the hands of God.

Fans honoured you with a statue in the Turkish city of Trabzon for your heroics at the club. How did that make you feel?

It’s one of the greatest gifts I received from any club fan. I was overwhelmed and I feel indebted to them, to give more than I am currently doing. That gesture means a lot to me.

Are you a lover of designer clothes and shoes?

I’m a big lover of designers. In fact, since I started playing football, all my clothes are designers, except for the native fabrics, which I often wear, but I don’t go for any peculiar product. I just love wearing what’s in vogue.

How do you relax?

I watch movies a lot, listen to music and house party if I’m invited by my friends.

Who is your favourite musician and what song is your current favourite?

Tuface Idibia. I have met the legend countless times and I marvel at his humility. I love him and his music are so lovely. I have a couple of artistes I listen to at the moment: Davido, Burna Boy, Omay Lay, Buju, Fire Boy ad not forgetting my brother Small Doctor.

Who is a better footballer Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?

Both players have been outstanding in the last decade, but I love Lionel Messi.

What are your retirement plans?

I just want to end my career injury-free, retire rich and happy. It’s been a long time since I started my career and God has been faithf

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