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Africa’s football legends: George Weah

By Alexis Billebault
Posted on Saturday, 26 June 2010 09:22

We profile the Liberian striker, who was the first African to win the Ballon d’Or

The chaotic end to the Liberian striker’s career – at Chelsea, Manchester United and finally Abu Dhabi – is a poor yardstick to measure the real value of George Weah. Neither would it be fair to the elegant and efficient forward, whose only fault was to play among countrymen lacking the skills necessary to reach a World Cup final, to judge him for not reaching the pinnacle of success at international ?levels. In the two finals of the African Cup of Nations that he played, Liberia did not ?manage to get beyond the first round.?

He managed to console himself with a glittering ?career in the biggest clubs in Europe. He had only played a season in Cameroon, at Tonnerre de Yaoundé, when Monaco spotted him. They kept “Mister George” for four years before he moved to Paris Saint-Germain and helped them to their 1994 French league victory. Then- Monaco manager Arsène Wenger spoke in the highest terms of the player. But it was at AC Milan that Weah was to spend his best years, becoming in 1995, at the age of 29, the first African to win the Ballon d’Or. He won two Italian titles (in 1996 and 1999) before moving to ?England, back to France and finally to the United Arab Emirates. Once back in ?Liberia, he went into politics and stood unsuccessfully for the presidency in 2005.

This article was first published in The Africa Report’s World Cup 2010 edition in May.

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