Born: Oct. 28, 1984, in Lagos, Nigeria
Clubs Played for: As a young soccer player, Martins spent time with Nigeria’s F.C. Ebedei, then moved to Italian lower division side Reggiana before Inter Milan signed him to a youth contract. Martins eventually made his professional debut with Inter, playing nearly 90 times from 2002 to 2006. Newcastle United paid $15 million to bring the Nigerian international to St. James Park in 2006, and Martins would be ever present in the starting lineup until Newcastle was relegated last season. Bundesliga champion Wolfsburg then brought the 25-year-old to Germany last summer.
International career: Martins's strike record with Nigeria is impressive, scoring 16 goals in 31 appearances for the Super Eagles Martins. His limitless speed and cavalier nature suit Nigeria’s passing game, and he will be heavily relied upon to spark the offence this summer.
Why is he so special? Martins is a firecracker; the kind of striker who takes the ball on his foot and explodes. The vivacious forward will either run at a tremendous pace with the ball at this feet or throw the considerable might of his five-foot-eight frame behind a shot, from any distance. His goal scoring celebrations – a series of creative flips – are equally entertaining.
His most famous moment: Martins's first international goal, against Ireland in 2004, showcased his many talents. Martins took the ball at the halfway line, ran 30 yards, dribbled between two defenders and then tapped the ball home with the outside of his left foot.
He said it: "I feel great [scoring goals] because as a striker you need to score, and that is why I do everything possible just to get a goal."
What they’re saying about him: "He isn’t just fast, he also proved to be dangerous in front of the goal…. Despite his young age, he gained a lot of experience in Italy and England, and also knows the Champions League." Armin Veh, former Wolfsburg manager
Here is an interesting fact: Although Martins prefers the nickname Oba-goal, inside the Nigerian dressing room, his countrymen have a far more ominous moniker for him, The Weapon of Mass Destruction.