|Full name||John Chukwudi Utaka|
Jan 8, 1982
|Age||41 years old|
Joueur du mois en Ligue 1 (février 2006 avec Rennes)
John Utaka signed for Stade Rennais FC in July 2005 from RC Lens for a sum of 6 Million Euros, with the plan of making a name for himself in the UEFA Cup. The pacy and technically-gifted striker took 6 months to adapt to his new club, and more particularly his role as back-up for the strike pairing of Frei and Monterrubio. Having scored two goals in the first-half of the season, he scored a goal which was as fabulous as it was historic at Nantes in a 2-0 win in January 2006. After returning from injury in mid-February, Bölöni played him as centre-forward in the absence of Frei. The Nigerian went on to have a stellar end to the season, adding 13 goals to his tally, including two consecutive hat-tricks, against Lens (4-1) and Lyon away (4-1), which were enough to earn him the Player of the Month award for Ligue 1 in March, not forgetting a four-goal haul against Colmar in the French Cup (4-1). In the 2006/2007 season, with Dréossi in charge, Utaka built a better understanding with Briand, and – again – finished the season with a flourish, and a goal on the last day of the season at Lille (1-1), which came so close to qualifying the club for the Champions League. In July 2007, he was transferred to Portsmouth for 10 Million Euros.