The Kanu Nwankwo biography that I wrote in this article is one like no other that will make for a good read.
Kanu Nwankwo, best known by the nickname “Papilio”, is a retired Nigerian professional footballer who played as a striker.
Let me now properly dive into Kanu Nwankwo’s biography.
Kanu Nwankwo biography
The 6-foot-6-inch Nigerian player was born on August 1, 1976 in Owerri, Imo, Nigeria.
It was born by Mrs. Susan (mother) and Mr. Iheme (father), a native of Okija in the Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria.
Kanu comes from the state of Abia in southeastern Nigeria and belongs to the Aro subgroup of the Igbo ethnic group.
Nwankwo means “child born on Nkwo market day” in the Igbo language.
Kanu’s younger brother, Christopher, was also a football player who played as a defender; he also has another younger brother, Ogbonna.
Kanu grew up with his siblings in Owerri, where he began his football career with the Nigerian association club.
Kanu continued his football career in Iwuanyanwu Nationale.
After a unique performance at the U-17 World Cup, he was signed by the Dutch Eredivisie AFC Ajax for an undisclosed fee.
He made his Ajax debut that year, scoring 25 goals in 54 games.
Kanu also played as a sub in Ajax’s 1995 UEFA Champions League victory over AC Milan and started in the 1996 UCL final against Juventus.
In 1996, Kanu was sold to Serie A club Inter Milan for $ 4.7 million.
That same year he was the captain of the Nigerian national team, which won gold at the Olympics and scored two late goals in the semifinals against Brazil to convert a 2-3 overtime result into a 4-3 win.
Kanu was named African Footballer of the Year that same year.
However, shortly after his return from the Olympics, Kanu underwent a medical exam at Inter, which revealed a serious heart defect, and doctors believed his career was over.
He underwent successful surgery to replace an aortic valve in November and did not return to his club until April 1997.
After 12 league games and a league goal for the Inter team, Kanu Nwankwo moved to the English Arsenal in 1999 for around £ 4.15 million.
He made his first Arsenal debut against Sheffield United in the FA Cup. With the score 1-1 and ten minutes from time, the then Sheffield United goalkeeper kicked the ball out of the ball so the paramedics could treat the injured Lee Morris.
When the ball was thrown back into play, although it was intended for Kelly, Kanu chased the throw-in unchallenged over the right wing and centered the ball for Marc Overmars, who scored to 2-1.
After the game, Arsenal coach Arsène Wenger accepted that this was incorrect and offered to repeat the game, which Arsenal won again.
Despite the events that overshadowed his debut, Nwankwo’s career at Arsenal was revived.
He came off the bench to score his first goal of the next round of the Cup against Derby County, the only goal of the game.
Kanu quickly became known for scoring unerring goals from the bench, scoring crucial goals against Sheffield Wednesday, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa replacements.
He became hugely popular with fans for his two-finger salute, which began against Middlesbrough in 1999 – something he later explained was based on the team’s nickname, the Gunners.
Kanu was named African Footballer of the Year for the second time in 1999.
In the 1999-2000 season, he scored 17 goals in 50 games for the Gunners, including a fifteen-minute hat-trick against Chelsea to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 win.
Nonetheless, Arsenal’s use of canoes gradually became rarer, especially after Thierry Henry emerged as Arsenal’s first choice striker, with Kanu mainly being used as a substitute.
Kanu won the FA Cup with Arsenal in 2003.
Along with other famous players such as Henry and Robert Pires, Kanu is a member of the “Invincibles”, the Arsenal team that ended the 2003/04 Premier League season undefeated.
He played 197 games for Arsenal, scoring 44 goals. In 2004 his contract with Arsenal ended and he soon moved to West Bromwich Albion on a free transfer.
Despite his move to West Brom, Kanu was invited to appear as a guest for Arsenal in Dennis Bergkamp’s testimonial game, the first game to be played at Arsenal’s new Emirates Stadium.
The game was tied 1–1 when Kanu scored the winning goal, making him the third person to score at the stadium.
At the end of the game, Kanu, along with the rest of the Arsenal, lifted the retired Dutchman on to his shoulders while fans gave him a standing ovation.
He remains a popular figure at Arsenal and is acclaimed for his appearance at the Emirates Stadium.
During his time at the club, he wore the jersey with the number 25.
Kanu started out as a regular for West Bromwich and made his debut on August 14, 2004 in a 1-1 draw at Blackburn Rovers.
He scored his first goal for Albion on September 18, 2004, equalizing in the 88th minute in a 1-1 home draw with Fulham.
One of the most memorable games of the 2005-06 season for Kanu was his former club Arsenal’s visit to The Hawthorns on October 15, 2005.
Philippe Senderos gave the visitors the lead in the 17th minute, but Kanu equalized before the break. West Brom went on to win the game 2-1.
It was a spectacular game for West Bromwich Albion as it was their first win against Arsenal, also their first win from behind.
Kanu Nwankwo’s contract expired and he signed for Portsmouth. Kanu made his debut for Portsmouth as a substitute against Blackburn Rovers on August 19, 2006, the 2006/07 Premier League season, scoring twice.
The former African Footballer of the Year ended the season as Portsmouth’s top scorer with a total of 12 goals.
After several disputes with the club over unpaid wages, Kanu agreed to leave Portsmouth on July 30, 2012.
Kanu was a member of the Nigerian national team from 1994 to 2010 and made his debut in a friendly against Sweden.
At the beginning of his career, Kanu was instrumental in Nigeria’s overall success at the 1993 FIFA U-17 tournament in Japan and the subsequent 2-1 win over Ghana.
With Peter Anosike and Manuel Neira he was the second common goal scorer of the tournament with five goals, behind his compatriot and captain Wilson Oruma.
On June 24, 2010 Kanu ended his international career after Nigeria’s departure from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
He won 86 international matches and scored 13 goals for his nation. Despite serving as a striker, he wore the number 4 jersey for Nigeria.
Canoe Net Value
If Kanu had played in a time when soccer was more money-driven than entertaining, he would have made a fortune as one of the most successful Nigerian soccer players in super eagle history.
However, he was able to hold his own weight financially and was involved in several investments to keep the money going.
The retired Nigerian soccer player is currently estimated to have a total net worth of $ 9 million.
However, there are reports that his total net worth is expected to increase as he recently invested over ₦2 billion in real estate.
Kanu Nwankwo Hotel
Kanu Nwankwo likes to invest in real estate and hospitality and is said to have a hotel chain in Dubai.
He built a new € 400 million hotel in Owerri, which the footballer told his friends would be the best hotel in the eastern heartland.
The hotel is on Port Harcourt Road, Owerri.
Another of his most valuable investments are The Hardley Apartments on Waziri Ibrahim Crescent on Victoria Island in Lagos State.
The four-star hotel has been the subject of a lawsuit for a number of years over an alleged default between it and Skye Bank (Polaris Bank), which has led to a series of legal disputes in Ikoyi Federal Court, Lagos.
Aside from claiming Kanu has houses in his hometown and several other locations, as well as in Arochukwu and Ikoyi, the Nigerian star also owns a villa in Opebi, Lagos, which is estimated to cost 150 million yen.
This is the main building that has been confirmed to be owned by the former Super Eagle star and is indeed a sight to behold.
Besides houses, Kanu Nwankwo also loves cars and not just any car.
The former Arsenal man has been spotted with a couple of luxury cars that appear to be performing commendably for speed.
His fleets include a Ferrari, Mercedes Benz and Audi.
Kanu’s relationship with his wife is one thing that caught media attention at the time of their marriage.
The Super Eagles star married his wife Amarachi on June 26, 2004.
Amarachi was only 18 when she married Kanu, and the 16-year-old union is blessed with three children: Amarachi, Onyekachi and Chukwudi.
It wasn’t all a fairy tale train, however, as an 18-year-old Amarachi had to learn how to become a woman without much preparation.
She said in an interview that it was a growth process that her husband had helped her with.
She also cited that the marriage was held in the tough early years as she truly loved her husband.
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Currently, Nwankwo’s wife works as a fitness and wellness trainer who inspires people to become a better version of themselves.