Nwankwo Kanu (born August 1, 1976 in Owerri,
Nigeria) is a professional football
(soccer)|footballer, currently playing for West
Bromwich Albion F.C.|West Bromwich Albion in the
English Premier League. He is known for his
height, which is 198 cm (6'6").
Kanu began his career, aged fifteen, at first
division club Federation Works before moving to
Iwuanyanwu National in 1992. After a notable
performance at the Football U-17 World
Championship|U-17 World Championships he was
signed by Ajax Amsterdam in 1993 for $250,000. He
made his Ajax debut in 1994 and went on to play 54
times for the Netherlands|Dutch side, scoring 25
goals. In 1996, Ajax sold him to
Internazionale|Inter Milan for around $4.7
million; that summer he played in the Nigeria
national football team|Nigerian squad that won
gold at the 1996 Summer Olympics|Olympics. Kanu
was named African Footballer of the Year for that
At Inter a medical examination revealed a serious
heart defect; he underwent surgery in November
1996 to replace an aortic valve and did not return
to his club until April 1997. In February 1999,
after just twelve games for Inter, Kanu was signed
by Arsenal F.C.|Arsenal for roughly $7.5 million.
Initially his career was revived under ArsÃ¨ne
Wenger, and he was named African Footballer of the
Year for the second time in 1999.
Kanu's appearances for Arsenal gradually became
less frequent, and in the 2004 offseason, after
failing to get his contract with Arsenal extended,
he moved to West Bromwich Albion F.C.|West Brom on
a free transfer. Kanu played for Nigeria in the
Football World Cup 1998|1998 and Football World
Cup 2002|2002 World Cups.
Kanu is remembered for his classic hat-trick
against Chelsea F.C.|Chelsea, in which one of the
goals was scored parallel to the goal line.