Former Everton striker Aiyegbeni Yakubu always played the game in his own inimitable way, and today on his 35th birthday, announced that he is retiring from football. His career spanned multiple continents and he has played at various levels of the game, scoring 173 times in 449 matches.
The Toffees was his single longest stay during that time, featuring in 107 games between 2007 to 2011. He pocketed 33 goals for the Blues, with 12 additional assists, earning the long held moniker chanted rabidly by the fanbase - “Feed the Yak.. and he will score!”
The Nigerian international featured 57 times for the Super Eagles, scoring 21 times to place him 3rd on the all-time list. He had an overall 250 Premier League appearances in which scored an incredible 96 goals.
Speaking to Sky Sports News today, he said -
"I would like to officially announce my retirement from professional football today.
"Firstly, I would like to thank God for the career I have had. I would like to thank the entire Nigerian Football Federation and my Nigerian national team-mates for all the memorable years I had playing for the Super Eagles.
"I would also like to thank all the football clubs I played for. The managers, all club staff, owners, fellow players and my dearest family and friends who immensely supported me throughout my career.
"When I started my career at Julius Berger in Nigeria all those years ago (1997) I could only have dreamt of the success that was to follow years after.
"Also playing in England especially helped me grow as a player and as a person so much that I am now settled here. I feel the time is right for me to now focus on the next chapter in my life."
During his pre-match press conference today, current interim manager at the Blues David Unsworth had a few words to say about the Yak too -
“Yeah he did great here didn’t he, scored a lot of goals! Was very popular.
“I played with him at Portsmouth, for a year, and again he scored a lot of goals and was very popular in the changing rooms.
“He’s a great guy, a funny guy off the pitch as well, and I’m sure everybody at Everton wishes him all the best.”
Evertonians and indeed fans of football everywhere will be wishing the Yak all the best in his future endeavours outside of the game, and thank you for all the goals.