UEFA Champions League: African players who have won the Title

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African Greats: Champions of the UEFA Champions League. 

In the illustrious history of the UEFA Champions League, a competition revered as the pinnacle of European football since its inception in 1955, numerous African players have left an indelible mark. This article pays tribute to those who have ascended to glory by clinching the prestigious title with their respective clubs.

Bruce Grobbelaar (Zimbabwe) – Liverpool (1983/84): Bruce Grobbelaar stands as a trailblazer, being the first African player to secure victory in the UEFA Champions League. His pivotal role in the 1984 European Cup final against AS Roma set the stage for future African players on Europe’s grandest stage.

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Rabah Madjer (Algeria) – FC Porto (1986/87): Rabah Madjer, the Algerian maestro, etched his name in history with a memorable backheel goal that contributed to FC Porto’s triumph over Bayern Munich.

Abedi Pele (Ghana) – Olympique de Marseille (1992/93): A Ghanian legend, Abedi Pele, led Olympique de Marseille to their first and only Champions League title, leaving an indomitable mark on the competition.

Finidi George and Nwankwo Kanu (Nigeria) – Ajax Amsterdam (1994/95): The Nigerian duo played integral roles in Ajax’s mid-90s triumph, conquering Europe and defeating AC Milan in the final.

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Ibrahim Tanko (Ghana) – Borussia Dortmund (1996/97): Although not on the pitch for the final, Tanko was part of the Borussia Dortmund squad that claimed victory against Juventus.

Geremi (Cameroon) and Samuel Kuffour (Ghana) – Real Madrid and Bayern Munich (1999/00, 2000/01): Geremi secured two Champions League titles with Real Madrid, while Kuffour celebrated success with Bayern Munich, both contributing significantly to their teams.

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Benni McCarthy (South Africa) – FC Porto (2003/04): South Africa’s football maestro, McCarthy, played a crucial role in FC Porto’s success under José Mourinho, scoring vital goals on the road to the final.

Djimi Traoré (Mali) – Liverpool (2004/05): Traoré was part of Liverpool’s historic “Miracle of Istanbul” team, orchestrating a comeback from a 3-0 deficit to defeat AC Milan in a penalty shootout.

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Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon) – FC Barcelona and Inter Milan (2005/06, 2008/09, 2009/10): Eto’o holds the record for the most Champions League titles by an African player, winning thrice – twice with FC Barcelona and once with Inter Milan.

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Yaya Touré (Ivory Coast) and Seydou Keita (Mali) – FC Barcelona (2008/09): Touré and Keita were integral parts of Pep Guardiola’s FC Barcelona team that claimed the 2008/09 Champions League title.

Sulley Muntari (Ghana) and McDonald Mariga (Kenya) – Inter Milan (2009/10): Muntari and Mariga contributed to José Mourinho’s treble-winning Inter Milan squad, with Mariga making history as the first Kenyan player to win the Champions League

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John Obi Mikel (Nigeria), Salomon Kalou and Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast), Michael Essien (Ghana) – Chelsea (2011/12): These African stars played pivotal roles in Chelsea’s first-ever Champions League triumph, with Drogba scoring the decisive penalty against Bayern Munich.

Achraf Hakimi (Morocco) – Real Madrid (2017/18): Hakimi, a promising talent from Morocco, contributed to Real Madrid’s third consecutive Champions League title in the 2017/18 season.

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Mohamed Salah (Egypt), Sadio Mané (Senegal), Joel Matip (Cameroon), Naby Keita (Guinea) – Liverpool (2018/19): Instrumental in Liverpool’s sixth Champions League title, Salah and Mané showcased their prowess by scoring crucial goals throughout the campaign.

Edouard Mendy (Senegal) and Hakim Ziyech (Morocco) – Chelsea (2020/21): Mendy and Ziyech joined an elite group of Africans by securing the prestigious trophy, marking another chapter in the continent’s football history.

Riyad Mahrez (Algeria) – Manchester City (2022/23): Mahrez, known for his prowess on the right wing and remarkable long-range shots, played a crucial role in Manchester City’s first-ever Champions League title in the 2022/23 season.

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These African football luminaries have not only showcased their skill and tenacity but have also become an integral part of the rich tapestry of the UEFA Champions League’s legacy.

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