Known for being a very fast and agile left-footed striker, Obafemi Martins is one of the most famous and wealthiest people in the history of Nigerian football, having accrued an estimated net worth of about $35 million over the years as a professional footballer. Martins has played for different top-division clubs around Europe and is now plying his trade in China. He also featured prominently for Nigeria on the international stage, having been in the Nigerian squad for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006, 2008, and 2010, and the FIFA World Cup in 2010.
Fondly referred to as Obagoal by his many fans, Obafemi Martins’ many qualities, including his incredible pace, mobility, and athleticism, have taken him around the world, swelling his pockets in the process. Starting out as a young Nigerian boy seeking football success, Martins has not only won different titles with different prestigious clubs around the world but has also become really wealthy for it.
Football Makes Up The Bulk Of Obafemi Martins’ $35 Million Net Worth
Unsurprisingly, playing football has given Obafemi Martins the bulk of the money he now has. Born on the 28th of October 1984, the star striker who is now 38 years old began to show signs that he was a skillful player from when he was still very little. When he was a teenager, he was scouted by Churchill Oliseh, a footballer manager while playing on the streets of his hometown. Churchill was the manager of Ebedei FC at the time and so he recruited Martins into the team. For the record, Ebedei FC is a Nigerian football club that was based in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.
Martins spent a year playing with Ebedei FC and made such a huge impression that he got spotted by Italian club, A.C. Reggiana which played in the Serie C division. The club made a move for Martins and so Martins, who was just 16 years old at the time, left the shores of Nigeria to go play football in Italy.
In Italy, Martins spent three months on trial with A.C. Reggiana after which he signed a youth contract with the club in 2000. The Nigerian footballer did so well that in his first season with the club, he broke into the first-team squad and began to attract the attention of top Italian clubs, including Inter Milan. In fact, sometime later in the year 2000, Serie A clubs like Perugia and Inter Milan made offers for the striker.
Martins Was Signed By Inter Milan For A €750,000 Transfer Fee
In 2001, Martins got signed by Inter Milan for a €750,000 transfer fee. The footballer star went on to score an amazing 23 goals for the youth team, helping them to win the Campionato Nazionale Primavera in the 2001–02 season before making his first-team league debut the following year in 2002.
In 2005, Obafemi Martins signed a long-term contract with Inter Milan that ran for five years until 2010. This new contract was very juicy and it fetched him around €2.5 million every year. Martins went on to do some more exploits for Inter Milan, becoming the first-ever teenager to score in three consecutive Champions League seasons. He made 88 appearances for the club and scored 28 goals before he was sold in 2006.
Obafemi Martins Signed With Newcastle United In 2006 For €15 Million
Despite doing well for Inter Milan, Obafemi Martins was sold to the English Premier League club, Newcastle United, for €15 million. The deal was completed on 24 August 2006 and Martins signed a five-year contract. He then made his Premier League debut on 27 August. He bounced into action and ended the first season with 17 goals in 46 games, earning admiration from many.
Even though he was disturbed occasionally by injuries during his stay at Newcastle, Martins did well for the club and ended up amassing about 35 goals in all competitions from 104 games before leaving in 2009. While at Newcastle, Martins reportedly raked in about £75,000 as salary every week.
He Joined VfL Wolfsburg For £9 Million In 2009
After three seasons with Newcastle, Obafemi Martins joined German Bundesliga champions VfL Wolfsburg. He signed a four-year contract with the club and the transfer was confirmed on 31 July. Martins played for VfL Wolfsburg for about one year, making 16 appearances and scoring 6 goals before leaving the club in 2010. It is not very clear how much he earned while playing for VfL Wolfsburg.
Martins Signed With Rubin Kazan For €17 Million
After leaving VfL Wolfsburg, Obafemi Martins went on to sign with the Russian football club, Rubin Kazan, who were the reigning Russian Premier League champions at the time. He was sold for a reported €17 million to the Russian club on 9 July 2010 when he signed a 3-year contract. However, details about the exact salary he was paid at Rubin Kazan remain elusive.
Martins played for the club from 2010 to 2012, making 20 appearances and scoring 3 goals. He helped the team win the Russian Cup on 9 May 2012.
Brief Loan Spell At Birmingham City
In January 2011, Martins joined Premier League club, Birmingham City on loan until the end of the season. He chose to relocate to England to be near his family. The loan agreement came with the option of a £5 million permanent deal in the summer of 2011.
He Earned €600,000 Weekly At Levante
Obafemi Martins moved to Spanish club Levante on a free transfer on 13 September 2012 after he signed a two-year contract. He then went on to make his league debut on 23 September that year and excited fans by scoring his first goal during the game. That goal eventually turned out to be the winning goal.
Martins went on to do other exploits, including scoring a brace for Levante in their 3–1 home victory over Granada on 28 October, thereby sending his club straight into fourth place in the La Liga standings. He made 21 appearances for Levante and scored 7 goals for the club. While at Levante, Martins reportedly raked in about €600,000 per annum as salary.
Obafemi Martins’ Stint With Seattle Sounders FC
In March 2013, Martins signed a contract with MLS club Seattle Sounders FC as a Designated Player after the club paid a $4 million buyout clause in his contract with Levante. He went on to score his first goal for the club on 20 April 2013 and performed his signature back-flip goal celebration after the goal.
In October 2014, Obafemi Martins signed a new three-year contract extension with Seattle Sounders FC. The new contract nearly doubled his annual salary to more than $3 million. Martins thrilled fans with his performances for the club and was named to the MLS Best XI. The Nigerian superstar also won MLS Goal of the Year after scoring a looping goal that he shot from an extremely tight angle in 2014.
Martins made 72 appearances for Seattle Sounders FC and scored 40 goals in the process.
Obafemi Martins Moved To China In 2016
In 2016, Obafemi Martins left the USA to play in China after he signed a contract with the Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua in February that year. Martins was instrumental in helping Shanghai Shenhua win the Chinese FA Cup after scoring the only goal in the first leg of the 2017 Chinese FA Cup final. He scored a spectacular goal in the second.
Martins made 40 appearances for Shanghai Shenhua, scoring about 19 goals during that time. Even though he was hampered by injuries, he still thrilled fans with his skills and remarkable speed on the ball. At Shanghai Shenhua, he raked in $6.6 million as his salary, making him one of the highest-earning Nigerian footballers.
Martins Earns $127k Per Week At Wuhan Zall
In 2020, after leaving Shanghai Shenhua, Obafemi Martins signed a contract with Chinese Super League club Wuhan Zall on a one-year deal. The contract was signed on 21 September 2020. With Wuhan Zall, Martins rakes in a weekly salary of $127k. This also makes him one of the highest-earning Nigerian footballers.
Endorsements That Have Boosted Obafemi Martins’ Net Worth
Obafemi Martins has earned a lot of money from all the salaries he has received as a footballer. However, this is not the only way he makes his money. Apart from all the salaries that he has earned during his career so far, Martins has also raked in money from the many endorsements that he has bagged from reputable companies. Having played for popular clubs over the years, he naturally attracted companies seeking endorsement deals.
In 2008, it was reported that Martins had signed a huge deal with the German multinational design company, Adidas. According to the report, Martins would earn an amazing £1.7 million a year from the Adidas deal. At the time, the deal was the richest ever boot contract for an African player.
Obafemi Martins is also said to have had endorsement deals with other popular brands such as Pepsi and Nike. Sadly, he was reported to have had a fallout with NVA Management, his management company that helped him sort out the financial issues he had with his endorsement payments. Because of this, the player got into a legal battle with NVA Management after he refused to pay them an agreed fee of £300,000.
Martins Has Other Businesses and Investments
Apart from the endorsement deals he has had over the years, Obafemi Martins is also a businessman who makes money from other businesses and investments he has made over time. Like other Nigerian footballers of his era, Martins has made investments around Nigeria and even beyond.
According to reports, Martins currently has real estate investments in Nigeria and Italy. The footballer is reported to own an estate in Como, Italy. The estate is reported to be worth several million Euros and the worth keeps increasing every year. Martins also owns buildings in Nigeria. Reports show that in 2018, the ex-Newcastle player bought a luxurious home located in the VGC area in Lagos State. Martins’ VGC mansion is said to be worth about ₦500 million.
The footballer also has houses in other parts of Lagos, including Ajah, Lekki, Ikeja, and Festac. In 2018, Martins was reported to have splashed millions of naira on a luxury apartment in Eko Atlantic City, an area reserved for some of the wealthiest people in Nigeria. The luxurious apartment in Eko Atlantic City was reportedly worth about ₦50 million.
He Has Interest in Nightclub Ownership
The nightclub business is a booming one in places like Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and other major cities in Nigeria. Martins must have realized this because, in September 2019, it was reported that he had perfected plans to launch a nightclub in the boisterous city of Lagos. As expected, the project was projected to cost millions of naira to complete. The club has since opened and it is called BayRock, otherwise known as The Gentleman’s Club located in Lekki Phase 1.
Apart from the nightclub, Martins was also reported to be going into the hospitality business by building a hotel in Lagos. Apparently, Obafemi Martins is a smart man who knows the value of investments, and his many investments are paying off for him as he is now one of the wealthiest Nigerian men to have ever kicked a football.
Martins Splashes Millions On Luxury Cars
As expected of a man with so much money, Obafemi Martins has splashed millions of naira on expensive luxury cars. The footballer owns two Bentley Bentayga cars worth about $300,000 each. Right now, the Bentley Bentayga remains one of the fastest, most luxurious, and most expensive SUVs on the market. Despite weighing more than 5600 pounds, the exotic ride can speed from 0-60 mph in just 3.5 seconds as it is fitted with a redesigned 6.0-liter W-12 engine that develops 600 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque.
Martins is also the owner of a Porsche Cayenne 4×4. He bought the luxury ride while playing for Newcastle United, for £85,000. Also, the ex-Levante player owns a Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren valued at over $964,000.
He Owns A $460k Yacht
Interestingly, Obafemi Martins also owns an Iguana 31 Expedition yacht. The yacht is reported to be one of the most expensive boats in the world and is valued at about $460,000. Martins bought the yacht in 2016 to celebrate his birthday. The Iguana 31 Expedition has several unique features, one of which is that the boat can actually climb up or down a 30-degree incline plus a 25-degree lateral slope whether it is on mud, rocks, or gravel.
Another very unique feature that the 9.45-meter-long yacht has is that it has a center console that folds in seconds so one can stow the boat in their tender garage.