The Ballon d’Or is the biggest individual award in football, the award that has kept heated, the rivalry of Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo, with the former picking the award for a world record of six times.
George Weah, however, remains the only African to have picked up the award, since then, no other African has touched or come very close to it.
George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah , born 1 October 1966, is a Liberian politician and retired professional footballer who played as a striker. To date, the only African player to ever win the Ballon d’Or, Weah clinched the award in 1995—the first year that the prize was opened to non-European players. The Liberian star was a real phenomenon in the ’90s. His scoring skills, technique, and significant achievements made “Mister George” a real legend.
In 1995, when everyone was waiting for the Ballon d’Or winner announcement, few people expected that this trophy would go to an African player. Because George Weah shined so bright that year with AC Milan, but he didn’t expect that the African continent will be honored with such a glorious In that year, he defeated Jurgen Klinsmann—in second place—by 144 votes to 108, and would also pick up 13 votes the year afterward.
He is regarded as one of the greatest African players of all-time, and as one of the best forwards of his generation, in 1995, he was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d’Or, becoming the first African player to win these awards. In 1989, 1994, and 1995, he claimed the African Footballer of the Year, and in 1996, he claimed the African Player of the Century. He was known for his acceleration, speed, and dribbling ability, in addition to his goalscoring and finishing, FIFA describes Weah as “the precursor of the multi-functional strikers of today.” In 2004, Pelé named him in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players.
Weah started his career in his country, Liberia, after starting his senior career playing for his hometown clubs, Weah moved to a Cameroonian side called Tonnerre Yaounde. That’s where he caught the eye of Claude Le Roy, then-coach of the Cameroon national team. Le Roy was so impressed by the youngster that he contacted Arsene Wenger, who flew to Africa to see Weah in person. Soon after that, the two sides reached an agreement, and Wenger brought Weah to Monaco. Arsène Wenger, the former Arsenal coach, then the Monaco coach, brought him to Europe when he signed for Monaco in 1988. Then he spent 14 years of his professional football career playing for clubs in France, Italy, and England. In 1992 Weah moved to Paris Saint-Germain, where he won Ligue 1 in 1994 and became the top scorer of the 1994–95 UEFA Champions League. He then moved to Milan in 1995, where he spent four successful seasons and won the Italian Serie A twice. His most important goal in Italy saw him run the length of the field against Verona, one of a kind. Towards the end of his career, he moved to the English Premier League and had spells at Chelsea and Manchester City, before returning to France to play for Marseille in 2001, and ending his career with Al-Jazira in 2003. At the international level, he represented Liberia at the African Cup of Nations on two occasions. His number 14 jersey was retired after his retirement.
Weah’s goal statistics.
Club football: 411 matches, 193 goals
National team: 61 matches, 22 goals
George is an idol in Africa; Weah has been heavily involved in politics in his homeland Liberia. He will surely be remembered as the best African player of all time!