Finidi George

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Finidi George (born 15 April 1971) is a Nigerian retired footballer who played as a right winger.

After making a name for himself at Ajax in the Netherlands – being a leading figure in a team which won eight major titles, including the 1995 Champions League – he played several years in Spain with Real Betis, also having a brief spell in England before retiring.

Finidi was an important member of the Nigeria team during the 1990s, appearing in two World Cups. He became famous at the 1994 World Cup for his goal celebration where he ran to the corner flag after scoring after Greece, knelt down, an

Club career

Born in Port Harcourt, Finidi initially played for three clubs in his country. In 1993 he arrived at AFC Ajax, alongside compatriot Nwankwo Kanu. His impact with the Amsterdam side was immediate as he scored four goals in 27 games to help them win the Eredivisie title, which was also achieved in the following two seasons; additionally, as a starter, he appeared in consecutive UEFA Champions League finals, winning the 1994–95 edition against A.C. Milan.

In 1996, Finidi moved to Spain and signed for Real Betis, where he netted in double digits in nearly every season, with the Andalusians finishing fourth in his first year, which also brought a Copa del Rey final loss against FC Barcelona (2–3 after extra time), where he scored; before joining the club he was close to moving to Real Madrid, but the deal fell through.

After Betis' 2000 top flight relegation, Finidi stayed one more year in Spain with RCD Mallorca, after which he joined Premier League team Ipswich Town, managed by George Burley, for £3.1 million. He scored twice in a 3–1 win against Derby County at Portman Road but underperformed overall, with them also suffering relegation; he was released from contract in June 2003.

In November 2003, 32-year-old Finidi underwent a trial at former club Mallorca,following which he signed with the Balearic Islands team, helping them finally finish in 11th position after constantly battling relegation. He retired from the game in the summer.

In mid-November 2010, Finidi returned to Betis as its director of international football. He continued, however, to live in Palma, Majorca, where he had relocated to after his retirement.

International career

Finidi made his debut for Nigeria in 1991, in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Burkina Faso, providing three assists for Rashidi Yekini and scoring once in a 7–1 win. He helped the national team win the 1994 edition of the tournament in Tunisia,and also achieved one second and two third-place finishes.

Finidi represented Nigeria in two FIFA World Cups, 1994 and 1998.In the former, held in the United States, as the national team won their group and exited in the round-of-16 against eventual finalists Italy, he scored against Greece in a 2–0 win, proceeding to mimick a urinating dog whilst celebrating.

In the 1998 tournament in France, Finidi also played in all the matches, with Nigeria meeting the same fate at the hands of Denmark. He had already vowed to quit international football prior to the competition, and earned a total of 62 caps.

Personal life

Finidi means "Future full of sun" in his language. Two of his 11 brothers, Iginaware and Celestine, were also footballers, and the former was killed during crowd problems in a match.




  • Eredivisie: 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96
  • Johan Cruijff Shield: 1994, 1995
  • UEFA Champions League: 1994–95; Runner-up 1995–96
  • UEFA Super Cup: 1995
  • Intercontinental Cup: 1995


  • Copa del Rey: Runner-up 1996–97



  • Africa Cup of Nations: 1994; Runner-up 2000; Third-place 1992,2002


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