|Full name||Nolberto Albino Solano Todco|
|Date of birth||December 12, 1974|
|Place of birth||Callao, Peru|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Current club||Universitario de Deportes|
| Sporting Cristal|
West Ham United
Universitario de Deportes
| 0 (0)|
Nolberto Albino Solano Todco (born December 12, 1974 in Callao), commonly known as "Nobby" or "Ñol", is a Peruvian football player who plays for Universitario de Deportes, having spent much of his career in the English Premier League. He is a popular figure in his native Peru, where he is seen as one of the most famous Peruvians, appearing on a postage stamp and having his wedding televised live.
His talents in football range from accurate crosses to accomplished dead-ball skills and he has traditionally played either on the right wing, or as a right back during his career. He is the first choice player to take corner and direct free kicks. Solano is the first Peruvian to play in the Premier League and the FA Cup Final. He is also an accomplished trumpet player and has set up his own Salsa band, The Geordie Latinos. He has described himself as an 'adopted Geordie'.
Solano was the youngest of his family. His Albino father was in the Peruvian Navy, whilst his mother was a housewife who raised him, his four brothers and two sisters. He began playing football at a very early age in the streets of Callao.
Solano witnessed the Peru national football team qualify for the 1978 FIFA World Cup at the age of three and again qualify for the 1982 FIFA World Cup at the age of seven. The second World Cup he witnessed had the biggest effect on him. At that time he played a lot of football and his national team inspired him.
Solano signed his first professional contract with the Peruvian first division side Sporting Cristal in 1992 at the age of 17. Towards the end of his first season at Sporting Cristal he signed a one year contract with Deportivo Municipal before returning at the end of 1993. He was part of the famous Sporting Cristal squad of the years 90, the club won the Peruvian Championship in 1994, 1995 and 1996, and reached the finals of the 1997's Copa Libertadores. With Roberto Palacios, Flavio Maestri, Julinho and Jorge Soto, have been some of Sporting Cristal's most recognized football players of that time.
In 1998, Solano became the first Peruvian to play in England when he signed a contract with Newcastle United for £2,480,000. His debut Newcastle performance came in a Premier League match against Chelsea on August 22, after 67 minutes of play, as a substitute for goalscorer Andreas Andersson. In June 2001, he signed a new contract which would mean he could keep his place at the club for five years. A month later he scored what he later described as "the best goal of [his] career" with a solo goal against 1860 München. Nevertheless he was sold in the January transfer window of 2004 to Aston Villa. He had been an extremely popular member of Newcastle's squad and many fans voiced their anger over his sale. During his first spell at Newcastle, he played in the 1999 FA Cup Final.
Solano joined Aston Villa in January 2004 for a fee of £1.5 million and signed a two-and -a-half year contract with the club. He made his debut in a 5-0 win over Leicester City, and during the course of his time there he became a valuable asset, becoming their top scorer for the 2004-05 season, and was elected the club's Player of the Year by the supporters, the local press and his teammates.
Solano returned to Newcastle United in August 2005 for a fee of £1.5 million with midfielder James Milner going the other way to Aston Villa on a season-long loan. He signed a two-year contract with the option for Newcastle to extend it for another year. His re-signing was met with delight by Newcastle fans, who had chanted "Nobby's" name during the unveiling of record signing Michael Owen earlier on that deadline day. In the 2006-07 season, injuries to right-back Stephen Carr and others caused the Newcastle United manager Glenn Roeder to play Solano at right-back instead of his usual right-wing position. However it was not an unfamiliar playing position to Solano, as he started his football career in defence and had featured at right-back for his country. He impressed in this position and his instrumental form kept former first choice right-back Stephen Carr out of the team. With his contract due to expire at the end of the season, Roeder revealed he was in talks to extend Solano's contract to the end of next season. Solano signed a new one-year contract at Newcastle in the summer of 2007, however a few months later he asked to leave the club so to move closer to his family, who had moved to London.
Solano signed a one-year contract with West Ham United in August 2007. He made his debut for West Ham in October 2007, coming on as a second half substitute in the 3–1 home defeat of Sunderland, and was instrumental in West Ham's second goal, his shot being deflected into the Sunderland goal by goalkeeper, Craig Gordon. His first goal for West Ham was a free-kick and the fifth goal in West Ham's 5-0 away win against Derby County on 10 November, 2007. He was still a favourite with the Geordie following who chanted his name at the Boleyn Ground when Newcastle United were playing West Ham on 25 April 2008. They also cheered when he made a 30 second appearance for the Hammers. In the last game of the season on 11 May 2008 Solano scored his second free-kick goal, against Aston Villa, the match ended 2-2. He was released by West Ham at the end of the 2007–08 season having scored 4 goals in 23 appearances.
Solano joined Greek club Larissa in August 2008 on a two-year contract but a few months into the season, Solano accepted an offer (two-year contract) from Universitario de Deportes. Solano has stated that he wishes to retire within a few years, and hopes to finish his career at Peruvian club Sport Boys, a team hailing from the district of Callao, where he was born. 
Solano made his full international debut for Peru at the age of 18, since then he has been capped 88 times, scoring 20 goals. He has been a key member of the squad since the mid-1990s but, in June 2005, Solano decided to quit the Peruvian national football team due to disagreements with the coach, Freddy Ternero. In 2006, he returned to the national team setup under new coach Franco Navarro. Despite his return to the national team, Solano was not selected for Peru's Copa America 2007 squad.
With a slight frame and low centre of gravity Solano's game is based almost entirely on skill and vision, he in many ways exemplifies the South American type of footballer. Predominantly a wide player, as a winger in Europe he was atypical, two-footed with a taste for drifing inside and unhurried in his manner of carrying the ball. During his time at Newcastle he was among the Premiership's most creative midfielders, second only to Thierry Henry in assists for the 2000/2001 season.  He is also a dead ball specialist, having scored several memorable long range freekicks.
- UEFA Intertoto Cup: 2006
- Kirin Cup: 1999
- 1997 Peruvian Player on the Year
- 1997 America's Ideal Team of the Year
- 1997 South American Player on the Year: 2º place
- 2006 Best executor of World: free kick 
Notes and references
- ↑ Howey, Martin (May 21, 1999). "Salano Tunes Of Glory". The Mirror (London). http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-60384954.html. Retrieved 2008-08-04.
- ↑ Hill, Graham (February 1, 2004). "Diego made me a star - ace Solano". Sunday Mercury (Birmingham). "Solano is a hero in Peru where his face appears on stamps and in TV adverts. The 29-year-old winger is such a household name there that even his wedding was televised live."
- ↑ "Solano's tune army". icNewcastle. http://icnewcastle.icnetwork.co.uk/chroniclelive/eveningchronicle/tm_headline=solano%2Ds-tune-army%26method=full%26objectid=18076147%26siteid=50081-name_page.html. Retrieved 2007-05-27.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 "Solano blows his own trumpet". The Guardian. http://football.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,,1120082,00.html. Retrieved 2007-06-10.
- ↑ Soccerbase - Nolberto Solano
- ↑ "Sol Bids Farewell To Toon". nufc.co.uk. http://www.nufc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10278~1103820,00.html. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
- ↑ "Solano signs for Villa". BBC Sport. 2004-01-30. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/a/aston_villa/3445405.stm. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 "Solano makes return to Newcastle". BBC Sport. 2005-08-31. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/n/newcastle_united/4202864.stm. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
- ↑ "Solano linked to West Ham switch". BBC Sport. 2007-08-14. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/n/newcastle_united/6945496.stm. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
- ↑ "West Ham sign Solano and Camara". BBC Sport. 2007-08-31. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/west_ham_utd/6973578.stm. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
- ↑ Lillywhite, James (2007-10-21). "West Ham 3-1 Sunderland". BBC Sport. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/7043009.stm. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
- ↑ "Derby County 0-5 West Ham United". whufc.com. http://www.whufc.com/page/News/0,,12562~1164492,00.html. Retrieved 2007-11-10.
- ↑ "West Ham release veteran Solano". BBC Sport. 2008-06-12. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/west_ham_utd/7451377.stm. Retrieved 2008-06-12.
- ↑ Marshall, Adam (August 8, 2008). "Solano finds new club". Setanta Sports. http://www.setantasports.com/en/Sport/News/Football/2008/08/08/MLS-Solano-joins-Larissa/?facets/sport-space/great-britain-locale/. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
- ↑ http://www.premierleague.com/page/Statistics/0,,12306,00.html
- ↑ South American Team of the Year
- ↑ South American Player of the Year 1997
- ↑ Ñol, The king of free kick
- Nolberto Solano career stats at Soccerbase
- Player site
- Nolberto Solano at the Internet Movie Database
- International statistics at rsssf
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