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Luis… 500? If only Figo knew he’s a Naira note in Nigeria

Luis Figo

Born on November 15, 1976, Luis Figo would never have imagined all he had achieved in football. But now, 46 years of age and nearly a decade after he took his bow from football, the former Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan midfielder would be savouring all he had achieved in the game.

Sadly, he wouldn’t have known or heard about a feat that has been achieved over five thousand kilometres away from his home country Portugal, as his name Figo has been docketed along with the second highest denomination in this country.

To this end, here are five football superstars that have been re-christened by the football fans in Nigeria, the rationale behind the re-christening and where the re-christening might have started from:

Luis Figo

Luis Figo

Just like when spotkick assumed that the Nigeria vs India game – unarguably, the greatest football fairy-tale in Nigeria emanated from the beer parlour (pub), docketing Figo, as a N500 denomination would have started in no other place than a ‘paraga joint’ (a place where people drink dry gin alcohol). And when asking for the ‘where behind the where’ it’s no other place than Lagos – the commercial nerve of Nigeria and the most populous city in Africa. Terming the N500 denomination as Figo is a popular slang amongst the transport workers in Lagos. The motive behind this or what could have motivated this is unthinkable, but paraga could be more intoxicating than a beer.

 Cristiano Ronaldo

Juventus 3-0 Atletico Madrid - Ronaldo

The Juventus forward is Figo’s Portuguese compatriot, and nearly all that Figo achieved, Ronaldo has bettered – and earned himself a name amidst footballing loving Nigerians wouldn’t be short of those achievements. At the sight of Ronaldo filing out along his teammates, there goes the chants “ororo, ororo!!!!”.

It’s always deafening and at times unbearable at the viewing centres. Ororo is a Yoruba word, which translates to ‘oil’ – groundnut oil – in English. This moniker for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner emanated from viewing centres, but what inspired it is simply unknown.

It’s always deafening and at times unbearable at the viewing centres. Ororo is a Yoruba word, which translates to ‘oil’ – groundnut oil – in English. This moniker for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner emanated from viewing centres, but what inspired it is simply unknown.

Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale

The Welsh man and Ronaldo played together at Real Madrid for five years before the Ronaldo joined Italian giants Juventus last summer. Bale, however, is expected to also jump ship this summer. When Bale burst into the limelight around 2009, he was hugely accepted by many Nigerians – mostly the Yorubas, as to get the spelling and pronunciation of a Yoruba chieftaincy title “Baale” from Bale isn’t at all difficult. Just add an extra “A” and include the necessary diacritics, you have Baale. These chiefs, in Yoruba land act as territorial subordinates for the Kings. While dubbing Bale as Baale was just for fun for some, for others, it’s necessary, as it is the easiest route to save them the stress of pronouncing the name.

Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford

There’s somewhat some sense of connection between the number one person on the list down to Rashford.  In February 2016, Rashford announced himself to the world, as the then 18-year-old scored twice on his European debut in a Europa League clash against FC Midtjyland. Three days later, he recorded another brace, on his Premier League debut against Arsenal. And without wasting much time Nigerians already named Rashford after our national team’s all-time record scorer Rasheed Yekini. But to make the Arabic-derived name Rasheed sound better to the ear, especially, amidst the Yorubas, call it “Rashidi.”

Thierry Henry

Thierry Henry

The striking semblance of the Frenchman with people from the Eastern part of Nigeria and his thirst for goals during his stay at Arsenal earned him the title “Igwe” in Nigeria. Igwe is an Igbo word which refers to a king. Unarguably, Arsenal’s best player of all-time and the club’s highest scoring player, Henry as well, earned himself noble status at the North London club. At an event organised by Guinness in 2017 and in which Henry was brought to Lagos, Nigeria, the Frenchman was officially made a red cap chief. Speaking after he was made a red cap chief, Henry felt betrayed that his Nigerian ex-teammate Nwankwo Kanu never told him he was being referred to as Igwe by many locals in Nigeria. This necessitated the digging deep to let the five above named players know what they are being called back here in Nigeria.

It’s an unending list, but arguably the above names are more popular in terms of the acceptance of their monikers, than the others, but should you feel otherwise, let’s have your take in the comment box. We might be making something out of it.

Olatosimi Fadahunsi207 Posts

Olatosimi Fadahunsi is a part-time non-professional footballer and a football writer with spotkick. His football ideology/mind/eyes endlessly rove multidimensionally.

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