Football

Jay-Jay Okocha.

Remembering the two incredible skills from Jay-Jay Okocha that ruined Ray Parlour

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Jay-Jay Okocha: So good they named him twice!

Or so the old saying goes, but either way, the former 75-time Nigerian international is a legend in the game.

It's not for what he won or the teams he played for - he never won a league title during his 18-year career - but it was for his showmanship and genuine jaw-dropping skills.

The Premier League was blessed with his presence for 124 games during a four-year spell with Bolton Wanderers. Yes, the same Bolton that now resides in the League One promotion hunt.

But, when Okocha was playing at the Reebok Stadium, Bolton had the likes of Kevin Nolan, Ivan Campo, Youri Djorkaeff and many other continental stars.

The Premier League witnessed some terrific displays from Jay-Jay, but maybe none more skillful than Bolton's 2-2 draw with Arsenal back in 2003 that seriously dented the Gunners' hopes of retaining their title.

One man who will never forget playing against Okocha is Ray Parlour, and Arsenal's No.15 was on the end of two ridiculous skills from the former PSG man.

First up, with the clock running low during the 2-2 game, Okocha receives the ball close from a corner, seemingly ready to protect the ball and see out the game. Instead, he produces an insane rainbow flick over Parlour's head and then keeps the ball from Giovanni Van Bronkhorst before passing it off.

Casual as you like, isn't it?

The second time Okocha nearly retired the Romford Pele, Parlour shuts him down and Jay-Jay opens his body up like he is looking to pass the ball off inside.

Instead, he scoops the ball directly over Parlour's head from close range and sprints off past a dumfounded Parlour and an equally confused Robert Pires. Watch the sublime skill at No. 7 in the compilation video below.

Speaking to The Telegraph in 2012, Okocha said he felt his stint at the club was a waste of time after the club's lack of investment saw them relegated from the top-flight.

"We changed the image of the club," Okocha said. "We established the club in the Premier League and we thought they would build from there.

"But all our efforts have been thrown away. It feels like all that work was wasted.

Bolton Wanderers v Arsenal

"When you don't spend or invest in the future, you can't always get away with it.

"They have been playing cat and mouse with the club for some time now and the cat has caught up with the mouse. It is a pity.

"We laid a good foundation at Bolton but unfortunately for the fans, they have to deal with Bolton being a struggling team again."

It's a shame for Okocha's legacy and Bolton's that the club has declined in the manner it has, but we will never forget the six-time Nigerian Player of the Year's sensational skills.

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Topics:
Bolton Wanderers
Football
Jay-Jay Okocha
Thierry Henry

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