By 90Min
April 26, 2018

Born: 12 December 1974, Callao, Peru

Age: 43

Age in 2005: 30

Premier League Clubs: Newcastle United (1998-2004), Aston Villa (2004-05), Newcastle United (2005-07), West Ham United (2007-08)

Position: Winger/Right Back


Career


Just like when he met his future wife for the first time on a blind date, Newcastle United fans had no idea what to expect when the young Peruvian arrived at St. James' Park in 1998. 

Fresh-faced and exotic-looking, Nolberto Solano was far from your typical quick-talking, hard-hitting Geordie lad, and seemed almost comically out of place in a squad containing the likes of Steve Harper, Steve Watson and Steve Howey. 

Yet, despite not being called Steve, it wasn't long before Nobby would be describing himself as an "adopted Geordie" (despite his unmistakably thick Peruvian accent) and soon became a fan-favourite amongst the Magpie faithfuls. 

Stu Forster/GettyImages

(Above: Solano displayed the same aura of calm from the spot as he did blind dating)

He then cemented his hero status after scoring a decent solo effort in the Intertoto Cup versus TSV 1860 Munich, who, until recently, resided in the fourth tier of German football. Following the goal, Solano bashfully declared, "That was the greatest goal of my life".

After the resounding success of both his blind date and his first six seasons at Newcastle, Solano got married in a low-key event broadcast on Peruvian national television and then signed for Aston Villa in a deal worth £1.5m in January 2004. 

However, despite earning himself Aston Villa Player of the Year and a straight red in his debut season with the Villans, he decided that it would be a step too far to declare himself an "adopted Brummie" as well, and returned to Newcastle, still exotic-looking, but not quite as fresh-faced, just a season later.

Jamie McDonald/GettyImages

(Above: A Newcastle United legend and Alan Shearer celebrate a goal together)


Yet this time, the Big Nob didn't just bring his footballing skills, he also brought with him his trumpet, which he used to form part of a salsa band, known as 'The Geordie Latinos'. 


Headlining renowned venues in the north east such as NINE Sports Bar & Lounge, the cheeky Peruvian was making a name for himself both on and off the pitch, securing his cult status and serenading anyone who would or wouldn't listen along the way. 


On the pitch, when an injury to another Steve (this time Carr) rendered the right-back position open, Berty took like a duck to water, stepping in the shoes of the Irishman and putting in some excellent performances for Glen Roeder's side. 


To demonstrate how impressed the Newcastle boss was with his new signing's performances, he claimed that the Peruvian was "on fire". However, this was later revealed to be in reference to the player's BMW, which had turned into a fireball as he was driving along a highway back in his hometown. Thankfully, Nobby came out unscathed and continued to blow his own trumpet.

Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

(Above: hands up who is comfortable on the wing and with a brass instrument)


With his contract due to expire at the end of the 2006/07 season, the Little Maestro boldly declared that he would be "crazy" to move on at the tender old age of 32, before going on to sign a contract with West Ham United, followed by a spell at Larissa, a few months at Universitario, a stint at Leicester City, a quick season at Hull City, and then finally ending up at Hartlepool. 


He retired at the even more tender age of 37, with the UEFA Intertoto Cup and 10th place in The Telegraph's top ten free-kick takers of 2006 amongst other awards under his belt, and took up a part-time coaching job at Newcastle (Benfield). 


Where is he now?

Solano is back on the blind dating scene, while also acting as technical assistant for the Peruvian national team.


What did he say?


"I cannot believe how people are talking about Hartlepool."


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