The Peruvian dead ball specialist who retired to pursue a career in music.
Nolberto Solano, or ‘Nobby’ as he was affectionately known, was the first Peruvian to play in the Premier League and the FA Cup final, featuring in Newcastle’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester United in 1999. A legend in his homeland, with 95 caps and 20 goals for his country, Solano’s wedding was even televised on Peruvian TV.
He joined Newcastle from Boca Juniors in 1998 before spending a year at Aston Villa from 2004-05 and then returning to Newcastle for a second spell. He also played for West Ham in the Premier League, as well as Leicester, Hull and Hartlepool in English football. He is best remembered for his time at Newcastle however, and refers to himself as an ‘adopted Geordie’. So much so in fact, that his salsa band, in which he plays the trumpet, are named ‘The Geordie Latinos’.
Solano was a right midfielder with a cultured right foot. This was perhaps highlighted most by his delicate outside-of-the-foot effort from 18 yards against Everton shown below. In his solitary season at Aston Villa he finished their top scorer, with eight league goals, and player of the season which peaked the interest of a number of sides; none more so than Liverpool. He opted to return to Tyneside, however. His crossing ability was remarkably consistent and none other than Alan Shearer was grateful for the service, with Solano claiming the Premier League record goalscorer was a huge factor in him rejoining the Magpies for a second spell. He finished his Premier League career with 62 assists and 49 goals; 111 goal contributions in his 302 appearances. Not bad for a trumpet player from Peru.