The UEFA Champions League is the summit of European football. It is every player’s dream—Europeans and Africans alike. However, African players hold it dear to their hearts because the trophy is akin to conquering the football world. UEFA Champions League competition was found in 1955 by the Union of European Football Association. The competition is played by top tier clubs across Europe. The top four clubs in Europe’s respective country leagues qualify for the competition.
Many African soccer players have been fortunate enough to be part of the team that won the UEFA Champions League. However, in this post, we will narrow the list down to the players that won it from the last decade. Feel free to share your thoughts after going through the list. We will love to hear from you. Without further chitchats, here is our list.
1. Sadio Mane (Liverpool & Senegal) 2019
Sadio Mane is a Senegalese player who plays as a winger for the Senegal national team and Liverpool FC. He joined Liverpool FC from Southampton for a transfer fee worth £34 million in 2016. In 2019, Sadio mane and his fellow African players Mohammed Salah, Joel Matip, and Naby Keita won the UEFA Champions League. Consequently, he was crowned African Player of the Year and 4th on the Balon D’or list.
2. Joel Matip (Liverpool & Cameroon) 2019
Joel Matip is a sensational soccer player who plays as a center back for the Cameroon national team and Liverpool FC. He joined Liverpool FC from Schalke 04 in 2016. He had to wait for three years to lift the UEFA Champions League. However, it was legendary for the club who last won it thirty years prior.
3. Mohammed Salah ( Liverpool & Egypt) 2019
Mohammed Salah is an Egyptian Player who plays as a forward for The Egyptian national team and Liverpool FC. He joined Liverpool FC from Roma in 2017. In 2019, Mohammed Salah and his Liverpool teammate won the UEFA Champions League. However, we hope that he bags the Balon D’or someday.
4. Naby Keita (Liverpool & Guinea) 2019
Naby Keita plays as central forward for both Guinea national team and Liverpool FC. He joined Liverpool in 2018 and won the Champions League with them in 2019. Without a doubt, Naby Keita’s outstanding performance is pivotal to Liverpool’s success to date including winning the 2020 English Premier League.
5. Michael Essien (Chelsea & Ghana) 2012
Micheal Essien is a Ghanaian professional footballer player. He started his football career with Liberty Professionals in Ghana and ended with Sabail in the Azerbaijan League. Micheal Essien played as a midfielder for clubs and Ghana national team. However, in 2012, he was part of the Chelsea FC squad that won the UEFA Champions League.
6. John Mikel Obi (Chelsea & Nigeria) 2012
John Mikel Obi was a Nigerian international player. He played as a defensive midfielder for clubs and Nigeria national team. In 2012, John Mikel was among the African players in Chelsea FC that won the UEFA Champions League. After going without a club since March 2020, John Mikel Obi recently signed a contract with Stokes City.
7. Didier Drogba (Chelsea & Ivory Coast) 2012
Didier Drogba is an ex-Ivory Coast international player. He made his professional football appearance at a tender age of 18 with Ligue 2 club Le Mans and ended his football career with USL side Phoenix Rising FC at the age of 40. Didier Drogba played in a striking role for various clubs and the Ivory Coast national team. However, in 2012, Didier Drogba was among the African players in Chelsea FC that won the UEFA Champions League.
8. Salomon Kalou (Chelsea & Ivory Coast) 2012
Salomon Kalou is an Ivory Coast international. He played as an attacking midfielder for different clubs and ivory coast national team. Salomon Kalou was part of the Chelsea FC squad that won the UEFA Champions League competition in 2012. In the same season’s transfer window, Chelsea officially announced the exit of Salomon Kalou after making 254 appearances and netting 60 times.
9. McDonald Mariga (Internazionale & Kenya) 2010
McDonald Mariga is a Kenya international soccer player. He made his first professional appearance in 2003 and ended his career in 2018. McDonald Mariga was a defensive-midfielder in the Internazionale squad that won the UEFA Champions League competition in 2010.
10. Sulley muntari (Internazionale & Ghana) 2010
Sulley Muntari is an ex-Ghanaian international footballer. He played as a midfielder for the Ghanaian national team. Sulley Muntari made his first senior career debut for Udinese in 2002 and ended his football career in 2019. He was part of the Internazionale squad that won the UEFA Champions League in 2010.
There are many more African players that have reached this summit. This includes:
- 11. Yaya Toure (Barcelona & Ivory Coast) 2009
- 12. Seydou Keita (Barcelona & Mali) 2009.
- 13. Samuel Eto’o ( Barcelona, Inter Milan & Cameroon) 2006, 2009 & 2010
- 14. Djimi Traore (Liverpool & Mali) 2005
- 15. Ben McCarthy (Porto & South Africa) 2004
- 16. Samuel Kaffour (Bayern Munich & Ghana) 2001
- 17. Geremi (Real Madrid &, Ghana) 2000, 2002
- 18. Finidi George (Ajax & Nigeria) 1995
- 19. Nwankwo Kanu (Ajax & Nigeria) 1995
Interestingly, whether it is PSG or Bayern Munich that wins the 2020 UEFA Champions League come Sunday, August 23, 2020, the list of Africans to lift the trophy will grow. This is because there are African players on both sides including Alphonso Davies (Liberian) of Bayern Munich and Idrissa Gueye (Senegal) of PSG. That said, who do you think will lift this year’s trophy? Leave your predictions in the comment box below.