Super Eagles assistant coach and former Everton defender Joseph Yobo has opened up on how he joined the Toffees, insisting his performance in a friendly game against the Republic of Ireland in 2002 convinced former manager David Moyes to lure him to Goodison Park.
The former Nigeria youth international linked up with Everton from French club Olympique de Marseille in July 2002 for around £5 million.
The 2013 AFCON winner would go on to make 200 appearances for the club and subsequently become a cult hero in the process.
Speaking in an Instagram Live chat with the Super Eagles Media Team, the country’s most capped player said Moyes persuaded him to sign for Everton after watching him play in a Pre-World Cup game against Ireland in 2002.
“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 (Austin Okocha), 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, there was something 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.” The 39-year-old also revealed how Everton won the race for his signature despite interests from Juventus and Arsenal.
“My agent told me that we were going to England. I didn’t want to ask too many questions, where are we 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 added.
“He told me Moyes wanted 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 wanted 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.
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