13 fun facts about Bukayo Saka

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Everything you need to know about Arsenal's star-boy Bukayo Saka.

Bukayo Saka is a young professional football player who was born on September 5, 2001, in Ealing, London, England to Nigerian parents. He has been at Arsenal since the age of seven, making his first-team debut in 2018 after progressing through the levels.

The England winger's excellent performances have earned him several accolades. He was named the Arsenal Player of the Month for December 2019 and December 2020 and the Premier League Player of the Month for July 2020. He was also named in the 2020 PFA Premier League Team of the Year and was the runner-up for the 2020 Arsenal Player of the Season.

Saka is known for his versatility, technical ability, and exceptional work rate on the field. At just 5'10", he compensates for his lack of physicality with his quick feet and agility.

For England, Saka has become an integral part of the team, having made his debut for the Three Lions in October 2020. He was a part of England's 2020 Euro campaign, playing in five of their seven games.

Off the field, Saka is known for his humility and down-to-earth personality. He is a big advocate for social justice and equality, and has spoken out about the need to tackle racism in football and society as a whole.

Here are 13 interesting facts about Saka that you absolutely need to know.

  1. Nigerian roots
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    Nigerian roots

    Saka was born in Ealing, Greater London, to a Yoruba Nigerian parents Adenike and Yomi Saka.

    Both of his parents are Nigerian and migrated to London for work. He is the younger of the two children of the couple.

    The English superstar attended Greenwood high school and had very good grades in his GCSEs,  achieving four A*s and three As.

  2. Happiness in the name

    Saka's name has a meaning that matches his personality.

    His name "Bukayo" originates from the Yoruba language spoken in southern Nigeria, meaning "adds to happiness".

    The winger has a reputation of being a jolly figure in the dressing room and is adored by the fans and teammates alike.

  3. Little Chili for teammates

    Little Chili for teammates

    Saka is referred to as the 'Little Chilli' among his teammates, a nickname given to him by former Arsenal striker, Pierre-Emrick Aubameyang.

    "It started from Auba," Saka said in a press conference, per ESPN. "He said it in French.

    "We're doing one finishing drill one time in training and he kept saying it, and I kept scoring, I was shooting with so much power and he was calling me little chilli in French [petit piment].

    "I didn't know what it was. I asked him after and he told it means little chilli. From then on he kept calling me it and then it became a thing, and now it's a big thing, a lot of people call me it, and make it my nickname.”

  4. Faith in Christianity

    Faith in Christianity

    Saka grew up in a Christian household and attended The Edward Betham Church of England Primary School, which has a strong Christian ethos. His family regularly prays for his success.

    “I grew up in a Christian family who believe strongly in God. This always made me curious to get to know God more and I have done so by reading my Bible a lot and going to church a lot over the years. My faith is constantly being exercised when I’m put in different situations or I play in big football matches such as my England debut," he revealed.

    “I hold onto God’s promises such as the scripture ‘Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours’.

    "So before every game I ask God to help me play well, help my team and try to score a goal or assist a goal and he answers my prayers so this is why I point to the sky to thank him.” (via PremierChristianity)

  5. Trials at Chelsea and Spurs

    Things could have looked very different for Saka now, had different decisions been made when he was younger.

    The young England winger trialled for London rivals, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, but ended up choosing the Gunners due to their more defined development pathway.

    He played for Watford's youth teams before moving to Hale end at the age of seven. Both his parents are big Arsenal supporters.

  6. Role of Freddie Ljungberg

    Former Sweden winger and part of Arsenal's Invincible squad, Freddie Ljungberg, has played a big role in Saka's development over the years. The pair first worked together when Ljungberg took over Arsenal's U15 side. He has been a big reason in helping Saka become the player he is today.

    "Freddie is very supportive of me," Saka told football.london, "he was teaching me some tactics but I can’t quite remember what he was saying. He does give me a lot of information but it was always helpful."

    Saka added: "It helps so much. Sometimes when I don't understand, when the coach is trying to communicate with me, I have a better communication with Freddie sometimes, he speaks better English.

    "Freddie's information, he’s been a player at this level before, and it’s vital for me because I play in the same position as me and he's been a big part in my progress.

  7. Role model father

    Role model father

    Saka has always spoken highly of his father, regarding him as an inspiration and role model.

    In an interview, Saka stated the importance of his father, Yomi, in his footballing career: "He's a massive inspiration for me.

    "From when I was young, he always kept me grounded, kept me humble."

  8. Versatility is the name of the game

    Saka broke into the first team and was used as a full-back initially for Arsenal, and although he is primarily an attacking midfielder, he can also play in several positions across the midfield and forward line.

    He has been deployed across the frontline and often exchanges positions with his fellow forwards during a game, adding to his threat.

  9. Mentality like Ronaldo

    Mentality like Ronaldo

    Saka has been open about looking up to Cristiano Ronaldo for his mentality and taking inspiration from his commitment and perseverance on and off the pitch.

    Speaking on his idol, he said: "Cristiano Ronaldo. I love his mentality, he always wants to be the best, always working hard on and off the pitch, trying to make his body the best and when he gets on the pitch he performs with full confidence and full personality and shows why he’s one of the best players to ever play football.

    "I wouldn't say I have his attitude as we are two different players, he is unique, but I try to look at him and take the good things from his game and one of the good things from his game is his mentality.

    "He's always focused, always working and I try to do that as well."

  10. Record for most assists by a teenager in a season
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    Record for most assists by a teenager in a season

    Saka is heralded as one of the most electric wingers in world football right now. During the 2019-20 season, the English winger recorded 11 assists, one more than previous record-holder for a teenager, Cesc Fabregas.

    He has gone from strength to strength, having already hit double figures in goals (12) and assists (10) this season.

  11. 2000th Premier League goal for the Gunners

    2000th Premier League goal for the Gunners

    Saka wrote himself in the history books of the club by scoring the club's 2000th Premier League goal against Aston Villa on March 19th 2023.

    Arsenal became only the third team to reach the landmark after Manchester United and Liverpool.

  12. Working with BigShoe to provide for Nigerian kids

    Working with BigShoe to provide for Nigerian kids

    Saka joined forces with the charity BigShoe - which has been backed by the likes of Paul Pogba, Mesut Ozil and Philipp Lahm - to support children in Kano, the second largest city in Nigeria, and fund life-changing surgeries for 120 children.

    "For me, it's important, you know, that every child has the same opportunity to achieve their dreams and if I can do anything to help, like the surgeries, you know, I really wanna do this. So yeah, it was very important to me to do this," Saka said in a video shared on BigShoe's Twitter account.

  13. Men's young Player of the Year 2023

    His incredible performances for Arsenal throughout the season earned him the award for Best men's young Player of the Year at the 2023 London Football awards on 13th March.

    He is among the few players across Europe to reach double figures in both goals and assists this season, having registered 12 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League so far.