Bukayo Saka reveals origins of ‘little chilli’ nickname

Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka has revealed that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is to thank for coming up with his ‘Little Chilli’ nickname after the youngster shone during a particular Gunners training session in his debut season with the first-team.

Arsenal won the FA Cup at the end of that campaign (2019/20) and Aubameyang even bought Saka a chilli necklace after the final, while the nickname has stuck.

“It started from Auba,” Saka is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

“He said it in French. We’re doing one finishing drill one time in training and he kept staying it, and I kept scoring, I was shooting with so much power and he was calling me little chilli in French.

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“I didn’t know what it was. I asked him after and he told me it means little chilli. From then on, he kept calling me it and then it became a thing, and now it’s a big thing, a lot of people call me it, and make it my nickname.”

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Bukayo SakaPierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Bukayo Saka

Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came up with Saka’s nickname / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Saka, still only 19 until September, has been a bright spark in an otherwise very challenging couple of years for Arsenal. He became a permanent part of the first-team in 2019 and has already played 88 times in all competitions for the club.

The 2020/21 season was another step forward individually, with Saka already cementing his status as one of the Gunners’ best and most important players. He was named Arsenal player of the season and was nominated for both the PFA young player of the year and Premier League young player of the season awards alongside the likes of Phil Foden and Mason Mount.

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Saka was called into the final 26-player England squad for this summer’s Euro 2020 tournament, scoring his first international goal in the warm-up win over Austria earlier this month.

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