The 20 most decorated African footballers of all time have been updated.
Who is the most decorated footballer in Africa? This is an important question.
The argument regarding the most decorated African footballers of all time is more subjective than definitive.
African players should be evaluated based on their on- and off-field contributions to the development of African football.
Their contribution to the global dissemination of African football qualifies them as “great.”
This article will focus primarily on the 20 African footballers with the most individual and team honors.
We will focus on players who have played in Europe or are currently playing there.
1) George Best – Liberia
The current President of Liberia is former professional footballer George Oppong Weah.
Throughout his 18-year career, Weah was unmatched and unbeatable on the field.
Weah participated in 488 senior-level contests for both club and country, scoring 212 goals.
At Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan, where he won one Ligue 1 title, two Coupe de France titles, one Coupe de la Ligue title, and three Serie A titles, the Liberian football legend rose to prominence.
Weah also won 28 individual titles, including African Footballer of the Year three times, BBC African Footballer of the Year, and IFFHS African Player of the Century.
He was also selected for the FIFA 100, Golden Foot Legends Award, IFFHS Legends, World Hall of Fame of Soccer, and IFFHS All-Time Africa Men’s Dream Team.
In 1995, he was awarded the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year.
Unprecedentedly, George Weah is the only African footballer to have won both the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year Award.
2) Samuel Eto’o – Cameroon
The most decorated African footballer may elicit divergent opinions from analysts and commentators.
No one can deny, however, that Samuel Eto’o is one of the top three African players.
Samuel Eto’o, like Didier Drogba, had a long and fruitful career from 1997 to 2016, spanning 19 years.
During that time, Eto’o made 705 appearances for both club and country, scoring 350 goals.
Eto’o won the gold medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, in addition to the African Cup of Nations twice between 2000 and 2002.
Eto’o has won three Spanish La Liga championships, one Serie A championship, one Copa del Rey, and one Supercopa de Espaa. Two Coppa Italia championships, one Supercoppa Italia championship, three UEFA Champions Leagues, and one FIFA Club World Cup.
Eto’o has won 32 individual awards, including four awards for African Player of the Year, a record he shares with Yaya Toure.
He has won the FIFA World Player of the Year – Bronze, Golden Foot, Globe Soccer Player Career Award 2016, and IFFHS All-time Men’s Dream Team 2021, to name a few.
Samuel Eto’o is Cameroon’s most decorated player and has scored the most goals in AFCON history.
3) Didier Drogba – Ivory Coast
Despite his retirement, the name “Drogba” is still revered in the world of football, especially in Marseille, Chelsea, Galatasaray, and Ivory Coast.
His homeland, where he made his name and won the majority of his accolades.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of Drogba’s career was his longevity, as he played from 1998 to 2018 and scored 275 goals in 602 games for club and country.
Drogba has won the English Premier League four times, the FA Cup four times, the EFL Cup three times, as well as the Super Lig, Turkish Cup, and Turkish Super Cup each once.
In 2012, the football legend from Ivory Coast scored the game-winning penalty against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League, securing Chelsea’s first European Cup.
Furthermore, between 2006 and 2021, Didier Drogba won 49 individual awards, including African Footballer of the Year in 2006 and 2009.
He was named BBC African Footballer of the Year in 2009, FIFPro World XI in 2007, and Golden Foot in 2013. He will be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame in 2022.
Unfortunately for Drogba, he was unsuccessful in winning the African Cup of Nations in 2006 and 2012.
4) Mohamed Salah – Egypt
Mo Salah, as he is affectionately known, is the current Egypt national team captain.
Salah is renowned for his lightning-fast footwork, strength, and ability to score goals.
Salah, who is currently on loan at Liverpool, has established himself as one of the world’s best wingers by scoring 117 goals in 179 appearances.
In the subsequent five years, Salah won six major titles with Liverpool, including the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.
Salah has not had much success with the Egyptian national team, losing in 2017 and 2021 at the African Cup of Nations.
However, he is regarded as a national hero after scoring both goals in a 2-1 World Cup qualifying victory over Congo in 2018.
The second goal was a penalty kick, sending Egypt to the World Cup finals for the first time since 1990.
With 47 goals, Salah is the second-highest goal scorer for Egypt.
Since 2012, Salah has won an astonishing 50 individual awards, including African Footballer of the Year twice.
5) Abedi Ayew – Ghana
Abedi Ayew is one of the most decorated African footballers in history. Due to his playing style resemblance to the great Pele, he was dubbed “Abedi Pele.”
Pele made up for his absence from the World Cup with a stellar career for both club and country in other major competitions.
He won the French Division 1 championship with Marseille in 1991 and 1992, as well as the UEFA Champions League in 1991.
Additionally, Ayew won the 1982 African Cup of Nations, the African Footballer of the Year award in 1991, 1992, and 1993, and the BBC African Footballer of the Year award in 1991.
In 1992, he placed ninth in the voting for FIFA World Player of the Year.
Abedi Pele Ayew is the most decorated football player in Ghana’s history.
6) Yaya Toure – Cote d’Ivoire
Yaya Toure, the younger of the Yaya brothers, is a football legend for Manchester City and Ivory Coast.
Due to limited playing time, Yaya Toure was unable to reach his full potential despite being seen by the entire world in Barcelona.
Despite winning La Liga twice, the UEFA Champions League, the Super Bowl, and the FIFA Club World Cup, Toure never felt he contributed significantly to Barcelona’s success.
7) Nwankwo Kanu – Nigeria
Kanu is widely regarded as one of the most gifted players of his generation, and he more than lived up to expectations.
The ex-Arsenal player made 408 club appearances for six different teams, scoring 98 goals, two shy of a century.
He played for the under-17 and under-23 teams of Nigeria, in addition to the senior national team, where he earned 86 caps and scored 12 goals.
Kanu debuted at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, where he scored two goals.
The second was the decisive “golden goal” against a star-studded Brazilian team in the semi-final that sent Nigeria to the final.
Kanu won thirteen major club championships with Ajax, including three Eredivisie titles, one UEFA Champions League, Super Cup, and Intercontinental Cup, one UEFA Cup with Inter Milan, two Premier League championships, and two FA Cups.
In addition, the Nigerian star received the African Footballer of the Year award in 1996 and 1999, as well as the BBC African Footballer of the Year award in 1997 and 1999.
8) Sadio Mane – Senegal
At age 19, “the boy from Bambali,” a small Senegalese town, began his football career at Metz.
The following season, he played for Salzburg and won the domestic double.
This season’s performance earned him a transfer to Southampton, where he played 67 games and scored 21 goals in 21 appearances.
In the summer of 2016, Mane joined Liverpool, and the world began to recognize his talent.
Since then, Sadio Mane has scored 89 goals for Liverpool and 110 goals in the Premier League, establishing him as a cult hero in the Premier League.
Mane has won six major championships with Liverpool, including the UEFA Champions League, the Super Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup, the Premier League, the English League Cup, and the FA Cup.
In addition, Mane helped Senegal win the African Cup of Nations by scoring the game-winning penalty in a penalty shootout against Egypt.
He was named the tournament’s Player of the Year for the first time in its history.
Mane was also named the 2019 African Footballer of the Year and finished fourth in the 2019 Ballon d’Or voting.
He was also ranked fifth in 2019 and fourth in 2020 for the Best FIFA Men’s Player award.
Other individual awards include the Premier League Golden Boot, PFA Fans’ Player of the Year, CAF Team of the Year, and the IFFHS CAF Player of the Year in 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019 respectively.
Since 2015, Sadio Mane has won 26 individual awards, making him the most decorated footballer in Senegalese history.
9) Roger Milla – Cameroon
One of the first African footballers to elevate the continent’s prominence on the international stage.
Roger Milla’s goal against Argentina at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, in which Cameroon proudly displayed the “African flag,” will live in infamy.
Milla represented Cameroon 77 times, scoring 43 goals and winning the 1984 and 1988 African Cup of Nations.
In 1976 and 1990, Milla was also named African Footballer of the Year.
He also won a bronze medal at the 1990 FIFA World Cup and was named to the 1990 FIFA World Cup All-Star team.
Mila was honored with the Golden Foot Legends Award in 2014 and is currently ranked among the 100 Greatest Footballers of All Time.
10) Austin Okocha – Nigeria
He is widely regarded as his generation’s most technically gifted footballer.
During his time, “Jay-Jay,” as he is affectionately known, transcended African football, and his influence was felt throughout the entire world of football.
The two-time BBC African Footballer of the Year played a pivotal role in Nigeria’s victories at the 1994 African Cup of Nations and the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, where Nigeria won the gold medal.
Due to his dazzling skills and goal contributions, club-level football supporters praised and enjoyed watching him.
Even today, it is common knowledge that “Jay-Jay was so good, he was given two names.”