Obafemi Akinwunmi Martins is a highly-skilled former Nigerian striker who has accumulated a net worth of $35 million (₦12.6 billion) from his long-term goal-laden career in football. He made his wealth majorly through his football career, endorsement deals, and other businesses.
Martins started his professional career in his teens. He later moved to Italy when he was sixteen to play for youth teams in Serie A clubs before getting named on the first-team squad. From Serie A, he played in other top-flight leagues in Europe and is currently associated with the Chinese Super League franchise, Wuhan Zall, which he joined in September 2020.
Throughout his career, Obafemi Martins has earned eye-catching salaries that have helped him build his net worth. Aside from being among the highest-earning player in Major League Soccer when he was with Seattle Sounders FC, the accomplished footballer was also listed among the highest-earning players in the Chinese Super League following his move to Shangai Shenhua. Hence, it’s not surprising that he spends his wealth on luxury cars and mansions worth millions of Naira. Learn more below.
Obafemi Martins’ Net Worth Is Currently Estimated At $35 Million
Nicknamed, Obagoal for his goal-scoring spree, Obafemi Martins has gathered an impressive fortune estimated at $35 million. He has played in different leagues over the course of his career, including Premier League, La Liga, Major League Soccer, and Chinese Super League. During his various stints in these leagues, his earnings were astounding as Martins’ base salary of $2.4 million got him ranked as the highest-paid African soccer player in MLS. He was also the highest-earning player at the club at the time and the fifth highest-paid player in Major League Soccer.
Moving to the Chinese Super League at the end of his spell at Seattle Sounders in 2016, Obafemi Martins boosted his net worth with a base salary of $6.6 million he earned while playing for the Flower of Shangai. This astonishing fee got him ranked as the 20th highest-paid player in the CSL in 2017, and he was the only Nigerian to make the list. Though injuries have hampered his performance in recent years, the famed athlete still earns massively from his current contract with Wuhan Zall.
It’s worth noting that Martins made 42 appearances for the Nigeria national team from 2004 to 2015, scoring 18 goals during that time.
Is He The Richest Nigerian Footballer?
Oftentimes, people wonder if Obafemi Martins is the wealthiest Nigerian football player, having amassed an astounding net worth from his long-standing career. Even though his total wealth has helped solidify his place among the top richest Nigerian footballers, he is not holding the No. 1 title. At the moment, Obafemi Martins is ranked the 4th richest footballer in Nigeria, with an estimated net worth of ₦12.6 billion. He is only behind John Mikel Obi, Odion Ighalo, and Emmanuel Emenike.
Mikel Obi, who currently plays for the English Premier League club, Stoke City, is the richest Nigerian footballer with an estimated wealth of ₦17.3 billion. Similarly, ex-Manchester United striker, Ighalo is placed second. He has gathered a net worth of ₦16 billion, the same as Emmanuel Emenike, who sits on the third spot with an estimated fortune of ₦16 billion. Other Nigerian football players ranked among the top 10 richest include Victor Moses, Ahmed Musa, Vincent Enyeama, Victor Anichebe, Alex Iwobi, and Kelechi Iheanacho.
How His Football Career of Over Two Decades Account For His Massive Wealth
The former Newcastle United striker reportedly began his career in 1999. While playing on the streets of his hometown, the youngster was scouted by Sunday Oliseh‘s father, Churchill Oliseh, who was Ebedei F.C manager at the time. He signed Obafemi Martins to the Nigerian football club located in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria. He played with the club’s youth team from 1999 to 2000 when he joined the youth team of the Italian football club, Reggiana that plays in the Serie C. Following his tenacity and speed on the field, Martins caught the interest of other clubs, including Inter Milan and Perugia just after one season at Reggiana.
He eventually moved to the Serie A club, Inter Milan, in 2001 on a transfer fee of €750,000. He played the youth team in his first season at the club and scored 23 goals that season. As a fast and agile left foot forward, Martins was always finding the back of the net. He led the youth team to a pleasant victory at the Campionato Nazionale Primavera, which they won in the 2001/2002 season. Following his outstanding pace, mobility, and athleticism, the former Nigeria striker was promoted to Inter Milan’s first-team squad in 2002.
He played European football while at San Siro, and his first goal at the UEFA Champions League helped Inter Milan book a spot in the quarter-finals of the competition that season. He also scored in the next two Champions League seasons. As a result, he established a record as the first-ever teenager to score in the Champions League for three consecutive seasons. His excellent performance on the field landed him a long-term contract with the San Siro outfit in 2005, which was supposed to elapse in 2010. It earned him an annual salary of €2.5 million.
Unfortunately, Obafemi Martins couldn’t jack up his net worth with such a remunerative contract as the club sold him in August 2006. Nevertheless, he moved on to earn tremendous salaries from his spell at several other clubs, including Seattle Sounders and Newcastle. His successful career at Inter Milan saw Martins bag 28 goals from 88 league appearances and 11 goals in European competitions. He won the Italian Cup twice and the Italian Super Cup.
While at Newcastle, The Skilled Forward Earned £75,000 Weekly
With the arrival of football stars, including Hernán Crespo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Inter Milan, Obagoal moved to Newcastle United in the Premier League Division in a deal valued at €15 million. He signed a five-year deal with the English club and was adored by the fans that saw him as a good replacement for the Magpies’ record goalscorer, Alan Shearer, who retired in April 2006. As such, Martins was handed the No. 9 jersey vacated by Shearer. On August 27th, 2006, he made his debut in the Premier League, which didn’t end on a good note as he was stretchered off with a knee injury, and Newcastle suffered a 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa.
However, he made a comeback on September 17th and scored the club’s first goal against West Ham United, which they won 2-0. He subsequently improved his goalscoring form, which attracted interest from other Premier League clubs, including Chelsea, during the January 2007 transfer window. At the end of his first season at Newcastle, the former Inter Milan player scored 17 goals in 46 games. The season is rated among the highest-scoring league seasons of his career. He experienced a career decline in the second season following the arrival of a new manager, Sam Allardyce, who played him mostly as a substitute. Nonetheless, he continued earning his weekly wage of £75,000 despite the unfavorable rotation.
At the end of the 2008/2009 season, Newscastle was relegated from the Premier League, joining the Championship side. Even though Martins told the fans that he would stay at the club and help the team get back to playing in the Premier League, he left Newcastle for the Bundesliga side, VfL Wolfsburg, in July 2009. Throughout his three years stint on Tyneside, the prolific striker scored 35 goals in 104 games. He clinched the UEFA Intertoto Cup with the club and then joined the Bundesliga champion on a transfer fee of £9 million, penning four years deal with the club. He spent only one season at Wolfsburg, during which he played 16 games and found the back of the net six times.
Martins Was Sold To Rubin Kazan in a Deal Worth €17 Million in 2010
After spending the 2009/2010 season at Wolfsburg, the Nigerian professional footballer moved to the Russian Premier League champion, Rubin Kazan, on a transfer fee of €17 million in July 2010. He signed a three-year contract with the club and made his debut in August. In the next year, he requested a transfer to England to be close to his family. He was sent on a loan to Premier League franchise Birmingham City until the end of the 2011/2012 season. He made his debut for the club in February 2011 in a match against Stoke City, which Birmingham won 1-0.
Obafemi Martins then scored his first goal for the club during the fifth round of the FA Cup as the team defeated Sheffield Wednesday. He also scored Birmingham City’s winning goal in the 2011 Football League Cup Final against Arsenal, which they won 2-1. He subsequently returned to Rubin Kazan in 2012 and lifted the Russian Cup with the club, recording his first trophy in Russia. Joining Levante in September 2012 as a free agent, Martins was handed a two-year contract by the Spanish La Liga franchise. He spent only one season in Spain, during which he scored 7 goals for Levante in 21 games. He earned a base salary of €600 thousand while at the club.
He Was Ranked Among The Top 5 Biggest Earners In MLS During His Spell in The US
Obagoal moved to the United States Major League Soccer for the 2013/2014 season after Seattle Sounders paid Levante a release clause of $4 million to acquire his services. The club confirmed his signing in March 2013, and the next month, the ace athlete scored his first goal for the franchise. For his first season at Seattle Sounders, Obafemi Martins augmented his net worth with an annual salary of $1.6 million, making him the fifth highest-paid Major League Soccer player at the time. He then signed three years contract extension with the club in October 2014 and pocketed $1.62 million as base salary that year. For the 2015 season, he was paid an annual salary of $2.4 million.
Obagoal also emerged as the club’s highest-paid player and was equally Seattle Sounders’ highest goal scorer for two seasons. He played for the club for three seasons and scored 40 goals in 72 appearances. He bagged the Major League Soccer Goal of the Year Award in 2014 and was selected to the League’s Best IX team that same year. He ended his spell at the Seattle Sounders as the third-highest goalscorer in the history of the club and holds a joint club record for assist (13) with Mauro Rosales. Martins won the 2014 MLS Supporters’ Shield with the Sounders and the US Open Cup. He moved to the Chinese Super League in February 2016.
Obagoal Earned His Highest Annual Salary at CSL Club, Shangai Shenhua
Obafemi Martins was signed by the Chinese Super League franchise, Shangai Shenhua, on a transfer fee of $2 million in 2016. While at the club, he earned a weekly wage of $175 thousand and an annual salary of $6.6 million, the highest thus far in his career. He opened his goalscoring sheet with the club in a match against Guangzhou R&F in May 2016, and his team won 5-1. He then registered his first hattrick for the Flower of Shanghai in March 2018 when the team defeated Hebei China Fortune by 4-2. Subsequently, he sustained an injury on his right knee during the AFC Champions League match in April 2018.
As a result, he was ruled out for at least six months, during which his contract with the Chinese Super League side was waived. In May 2019, Martins suffered another career setback as he sustained another injury, a torn hamstring. He recovered fully in November 2019 and began looking for a new club as a free agent. Following the departure of Odion Ighalo from Shanghai Shenhua to Manchester United in February 2020, Obafemi Martins was re-signed by the club in July 2020. However, his contract with the club was subsequently terminated.
During his first spell at the CSL side, which lasted from 2016-2018, Martins played 72 games for the club and scored 19 goals. He won the 2017 Chinese FA Cup title with the franchise. On his return in 2020, he only made four appearances for Shanghai Shenhua without scoring. Later on September 21st, 2020, Obafemi Martins signed a one-year contract with another Chinese Super League side, Wuhan Zall, and further increases his net worth with a weekly wage of $127 thousand. He is currently associated with the Dongxihu Sports Centre Outfit.
List of Obafemi Martins’ Earnings At The Diverse Clubs He Has Played For
Obafemi Martins Also Increased His Net Worth With Endorsement Deals and Other Businesses
Having achieved an illustrious football career, which has seen him play European football with top-flight clubs like Inter Milan, Newcastle, and Wolfsburg, Obafemi Martins, like his colleagues, has attracted sponsorship deals from multiple companies. He is said to have had endorsement deals with popular brands such as Pepsi and Nike. Unfortunately, he reportedly had a fall out with his management company, NVA Management, that helped him sort out the financial issues he had with his endorsement payments. As a result, he entered into a legal battle with the company after refusing to pay them an agreed fee of £300,000.
As a businessman, Obafemi Martins’ net worth has been stepped up by his real estate investments. He owns an estate in Como, Italy, which is said to worth millions of Euros. In 2018, he purchased a palatial home in the VGC area in Lagos State. The mansion is said to worth about ₦500 million. Also, the ex-Super Eagles player reportedly has houses in other parts of Lagos, including Lekki, Ajah, Ikeja, and Festac. He bought a luxurious apartment in Eko Atlantic City for ₦50 million.
In September 2019, it was reported that Martins had plans to launch a nightclub and a hotel in December 2019. Although the hotel has been launched, the nightclub is yet to be unveiled but has been completed.
The Accomplished Striker Spends His Money on Expensive Cars
Over the years, Obafemi Martins has made billions of naira from his professional career. As such, he can afford a flamboyant lifestyle as he has several luxury cars and a yacht. The football star owns Iguana 31 Expedition yacht, which is valued at over ₦170 million.
While playing for Newcastle United, he purchased a Porsche Cayenne 4×4 for £85,000. Also, he owns a Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren valued at over $964,000 and Bentley Bentayga worth $300,000. The latter has a 6L dual-turbo W-12 engine that can accelerate from 0-60 mph within 4 seconds.