Eniola Aluko has accomplished a lot in her life so far – both on and off the pitch.
A successful playing career saw her win 102 caps for England and four league titles, while taking her to World Cups, European Championships and an Olympic Games.
But far from being defined by her achievements in the game, Aluko is a published author, a qualified lawyer and a respected pundit.
Here we take a look at her journey to Aston Villa…
Taking the honours
Success has followed Aluko throughout her career since she broke through at city rivals Birmingham City in 2001.
Eight years across two stints as a Chelsea player provided the bulk of her honours, with Aluko’s goals firing the Blues to three Women’s Super League titles and two FA Cups.
The 32-year-old’s record of 68 goals in 158 appearances for the West London side means she remains their all-time top scorer.
A move to Turin to join Juventus in 2018 was the last stop in Aluko’s glittering playing career, and she duly finished with a flourish by winning Serie A and the Coppa Italia.
An England centurion
Born in Nigeria, Aluko had a choice to make when it came to her international allegiance.
Having moved to Birmingham at the age of one, she opted to become a Lioness, making her senior debut for England at the age of 17 against the Netherlands in 2004.
A year later, Aluko was selected to play for her country at UEFA Euro 2005. As the tournament clashed with her A Levels, she sat a history exam on the morning of one of England’s matches. Appearances at three World Cups resulted in two quarter-final exits and one third place finish, while she picked up a runners-up medal at UEFA Euro 2009.
Aluko finished her international career with a record of 33 goals in 102 appearances.
Coming through at a time when turning professional was not a viable option for female footballers in England, Aluko has pursued interests outside of the game.
She graduated Brunel University with a first class degree in Law 2008 and worked as a trainee solicitor alongside her playing career until 2015 when she qualified as a sports and entertainment lawyer.
A successful broadcasting career, which began when she became the first female pundit on Match of the Day, has seen her work as a pundit at both men’s and women’s World Cups.
Aluko is also became a published author when she released her book ‘They Don’t Teach This’
- Aluko appointed Sporting Director for Women’s Football
- Aluko aiming for excellence with Aston Villa Women