Former Super Eagles captain, Joseph Yobo, has recalled how he joined the premier league club, Everton, after the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
It will be recalled that Yobo joined Everton on loan from Marseille in July 2002 after David Moyes scouted him in a pre-world cup friendly match against the Republic of Ireland.
He was brilliant in a midfield battle against Manchester United legend, Roy Keane in Dublin.
“When I was at Olympique de Marseille I played at the back with Frank Leboeuf, former Chelsea defender, so when he saw me, he said, ‘Wow you are lightning-quick’, that I was strong and powerful,” Yobo said in an Instagram Live chat with the Super Eagles Media Team on Wednesday.
“He said to me that the French League is good, that I’m playing for probably one of the biggest clubs Marseille, but he thinks England would suit me so well.
“How I moved to Everton, we played against Ireland in a friendly game preparing for the 2002 World Cup, and David Moyes watched me.
“That game I played in the midfield with Jay-Jay, so we were in the middle, and we played against Roy Keane, the former Manchester United captain, and I was able to make a statement in that game.
“After that game, David Moyes spoke to me that he wanted me to come to Everton and I made him understand that I wanted to go the World Cup first because even at the World Cup something was going on with Juventus.
“A rumour that I was going to Juventus, so I told my agent that I wanted to go to the World Cup and I’m glad my dream came true.”
Yobo was a key member of the Super Eagles’ team that crashed out in the first round of the 2002 Fifa World Cup. He played all the three matches and assisted Nigeria’s only goal in the competition, which Aghahowa scored against Sweden.
“At the World Cup, people said I was one of the best performers, and there were offers from everywhere for me.”
“My agent told me that we were going to England, London. I didn’t want to ask too many questions where we were going.
“There were rumours of Arsenal and other teams, but I went to Belgium, and we took a flight, and the flight landed in Liverpool.
“He told me Moyes wants to speak to me, so Moyes took me around the club, told me his dreams and what he expects from me and how good a player he wants me to be.
“Basically, he wanted to make me one of the best defenders in the world. Those were his words. He bought me lunch and sold the club entirely to me.
“He was a young manager, a former defender. One thing that struck me was, he said he wants to make me one of the best defenders in the world.
“So we spoke with my agent, and I decided to move to Everton, but they couldn’t reach a deal that’s why it was a loan,” added Yobo.
Yobo was an ever-present member of the Everton team from 2013 to 2012. He holds the record appearance holder for an overseas player for Everton. He was also the first African to captain the club.
The 39-year-old retired as the most capped Super Eagles player with 101 caps, he represented Nigeria at three FIFA World Cups and six African Cup of Nations.
He was recently named as an assistant to Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr.