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OGUCHI ONYEWU: IN PROFILE

PUBLISHED

10:07 23rd October 2013

by @OfficialQPR

An in-depth look at out latest signing ...

OGUCHIALU Chijioke Onyewu was born in Washington D.C., United States in 1982 and spent his youth playing for USA youth national teams and Clemson Tigers.

After attending Clemson University, he moved to Europe in 2002, where he joined French side Metz.

He made just three appearances for the Ligue 1 outfit during his three seasons with the club, but gained vital experience during that period with loans spells at La Louviere and Standard Liege.

A permanent move to Liege followed in 2004 and Onyewu was an instant hit in Belgium, rounding off a fine first season with his new team by being named in the Jupiler League’s best XI for 2005.

Onyewu experienced four more seasons in Belgium, collating an impressive 179 appearances for Standard in the process. During that time, they won two Jupiler League titles, a Belgian Supercup and were runners up in the Belgian Cup.

A season-long loan move to Newcastle United in 2007 provided ‘Guchi’ with the chance to sample arguably the best and biggest league in the world, yet despite making 11 appearances for the Toon, he was unable to hold down a first-team place and returned to Standard later that year.

In what was undoubtedly the biggest move of his career, Onyewu moved to Italian giants AC Milan on a free transfer in July 2009. 

With the retirement of Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta’s uncertain health and the return of Philippe Senderos to Arsenal, there was an obvious void in Milan’s back four.

However, things didn’t quite work out for Onyewu, who made just one appearance in a Champions League game due to the unfortunate rupture of his patellar tendon in his left knee after only 3 months at the club. 

In January 2011, Onyewu moved to the Dutch champions Twente on loan, where he made eight starts, before signing for Sporting Lisbon.

He became a first choice selection for Sporting's defence alongside World Cup winner Ânderson Polga, whom he formed a solid partnership with.

With Onyewu at the heart of the Sporting defence, Lisbon reached the semi-final of the 2011/12 Europa League in his debut season with the club, before a loan move to Malaga materialised last season.

On the international stage, Onyewu has been a regular for the States for several years.

A two-time winner of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, he was part of the championship squads in 2005 and 2007 and featured in all five Confederations Cup games in 2009 and eight final round World Cup qualifiers.

A torn patellar tendon in his knee suffered in the final match of World Cup qualifying in 2009 set him on a race to recovery that he completed in time to start two matches at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, including the memorable 1-1 draw with England.

He is widely-tipped to be part of the USA squad that will compete in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil next summer. 

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