Peter Odemwingie

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Peter Osaze Odemwingie (born 15 July 1981) is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a forward and winger for Madura United.

Odemwingie grew up in Uzbekistan and Russia and began his career with Bendel Insurance in the Nigeria Premier League. He then earned a move to European football with Belgian side La Louvière where he spent three seasons before moving to French side Lille. Odemwingie scored 26 goals for Lille which prompted Lokomotiv Moscow to pay a fee of £10 million for his services in July 2007. He scored 23 times in three-and-a-half years for Lokomotiv before leaving for English side West Bromwich Albion in August 2010. He scored 30 Premier League goals for the Baggies which won him three Premier League Player of the Month awards. A failed move to Queens Park Rangers saw him fall out of favour with Steve Clarke and he was sold to Cardiff City in August 2013 for a fee of £2.25 million. He spent six months at Cardiff before joining Stoke City in a player-exchange with Kenwyne Jones in January 2014.

Odemwingie made his debut for the Nigeria national team in 2002 and has represented the country over 60 times, including at two World Cups and four Africa Cup of Nations, as well as winning silver at the 2008 Olympics.

Club career

Early career

Odemwingie was born in Tashkent, Uzbek SSR, Soviet Union to a Nigerian father (Peter Odemwingie Sr.) and a Russian mother (Raisa), both of whom were medical students.He moved with his family to Nigeria when he was two years old before completing his secondary education in Russia. Whilst living in Russia he played in the youth teams at KAMAZ and CSKA Moscow

La Louvière

Odemwingie had an unsuccessful trial with Anderlecht before he signed for La Louvière in 2003 and made his mark by helping the club to win the Belgian Cup in his first season

Lille

Scoring nine goals in 44 appearances attracted the attention of Ligue 1 side Lille and before long he was a starter in the first team. Famous for his technique and pace, the Nigerian player was being monitored by a number of prestigious European clubs

Lokomotiv Moscow

On 16 July 2007, he signed for Lokomotiv Moscow for a reported fee of US$14 million on a four-year contract.

West Bromwich Albion

2010–11

On 20 August 2010 Odemwingie signed for Premier League club West Bromwich Albion for an undisclosed fee on a two-year contract, with the option of a third year in the club's favour. A day later, he scored the 81st-minute winning goal on his Premier League debut, a 1–0 win against Sunderland. Shortly after signing for West Bromwich Albion, photographs showed Lokomotiv Moscow fans celebrating the sale of Odemwingie through the use of racist banners targeted at the player. One banner included the image of a banana and read "Thanks West Brom". Before West Brom's game against Tottenham Hotspur in September 2010, it was announced that West Brom fans would unfurl a banner to counter the racist one, the banner read 'Thanks Lokomotiv' and is accompanied by a picture of Odemwingie celebrating his winner on his debut against Sunderland. Odemwingie scored again for West Brom as they defeated Arsenal 3–2 at the Emirates Stadium on 25 September 2010

2011–12

On 18 August it was announced that Odemwingie had signed a new three-year agreement with West Bromwich Albion, after a £4,000,000 bid from Wigan Athletic was turned down by the club. After some injury setbacks, he scored his first goal of the 2011–12 season away to Norwich City, pouncing on a confusion between Richie De Laet and Declan Rudd. Odemwingie's second goal of the season came in the Black Country derby, where West Bromwich Albion defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 2–0. Odemwingie scored a spectacular goal against Blackburn Rovers on 17 December, putting West Brom into a late lead after James Morrison had scored a stunning volley earlier in the half.

Cardiff City

On 2 September 2013, Odemwingie signed a two-year contract with Cardiff City for £2.25 million. Speaking after the move Odemwingie stated that he was eager for a fresh start in his career. He made his debut on 22 September 2013 in a 1–0 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur. He scored his first goal for the club two days later in a 3–2 defeat against West Ham United in the League Cup

Stoke City

On 28 January 2014, Odemwingie joined Stoke City on an 18-month contract in a player-exchange with Kenwyne Jones. Odemwingie described his move to Stoke as a "step forward".

International career

Odemwingie chose to represent Nigeria where his father was born. His first match came as a substitute in a 3–0 victory over Kenya on 4 May 2002. He scored his first goal in the 2004 Nations cup qualifying match against Angola. In the finals, he scored in the 80th and 82nd minute against South Africa. At the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations, he played in the semi-final as the Super Eagles lost to Ivory Coast 1–0. He was also included to play for Nigeria in the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations.

In 2008, Odemwingie was selected as an over-age player for the Super Eagles' Olympic squad, scoring in the quarter-final against Ivory Coast as the team earned the silver medal after losing the final to defending champions Argentina.

Personal life

Odemwingie was born to a Nigerian father and a Russian Tatar mother. His middle name, Osaze, means "God chooses (for you)". Odemwingie married his fiancée, Sarah Fallon, on 26 May 2012 at a church in Northampton after two years of dating.

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