Best African Manchester United Players: From Fortune to Ighalo

Odion Ighalo
Credit: Iconsport

Manchester United Football Club, one of the most iconic and successful clubs in English football, has had its fair share of talented players from all corners of the globe. Africa, in particular, has produced several exceptional footballers who have left an indelible mark on the club's history.

Manchester United's success over the years has been built on the contributions of players from all over the world, and their African stars have played a vital role in that success. In this article, we explore the most successful African players to have donned the famous Red Devils jersey.

Odion Ighalo


Odion Ighalo, a Nigeria Super Eagles professional footballer, had a short but notable stint with Manchester United. One of Ighalo's standout moments came in the UEFA Europa League, where he scored a crucial first goal for the club in the knockout stages of the competition. A week later, he scored his first brace for the club as United beat Derby County 3–0 in the FA Cup. Ighalo's time at Manchester United was marked by his professionalism, work ethic, and contributions to the team. He left a positive impression on the club and its supporters, who appreciated his dedication and impact during his brief spell.

Quinton Fortune

South Africa

Quinton Fortune
Credit: Iconsport

Quinton Fortune arrived at Manchester United in 1999 and went on to spend seven seasons at the club. Fortune was a valuable squad player known for his versatility and work rate. During his tenure, Manchester United clinched several major honors, including the Premier League (2002-2003), FA Cup (2003-2004), and Intercontinental Cup (1999).Fortune's contributions, both on and off the pitch, made him a respected figure among the united faithful.

Eric Djemba-Djemba


Eric Djemba-Djemba, signed for Manchester United in 2003 with high expectations.  He managed to win the Premier League title during the 2003-2004 season. His goal against Leeds United in the League Cup was a career highlight for him while playing for United. In the last three minutes of extra time, with the score still 2-2, Quinton Fortune swung in a corner that reached Djemba-Djemba. Djemba-Djemba hit it the first time, looping it over Leeds goalkeeper Paul Robinson to seal a 3-2 victory and advance the team to the next round. Djemba-Djemba's physical presence and tenacity in midfield occasionally provided a glimpse of his potential, but he ultimately struggled to establish himself as a regular starter.



Mateus Alberto Contreiras Gonçalves, aka Manucho, joined Manchester United in 2008. Manucho had been on a three-week trial with the Manchester club before the announcement, and during that time, he was able to impress United boss Sir Alex Ferguson enough to get a deal. His time at the club coincided with their success in the FIFA Club World Cup in 2008. Manucho played a part in the tournament, representing Manchester United in the final and helping them secure the prestigious trophy. Despite his limited appearances, his contribution to the club's global success cannot be overlooked.

Eric Bailly

Ivory Coast

Eric Bailly
Credit: Iconsport

Eric Bailly, an Ivorian professional footballer, joined Manchester United in June 2016 from Villarreal. Bailly quickly made a strong impression at the club with his athleticism, physicality, and strong style of defending.

In his first season with Manchester United, Bailly became a regular starter under then-manager Jose Mourinho. Bailly has also represented Manchester United in various competitions, including the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, and domestic cup competitions. He has played a part in some memorable moments, including helping the team win the UEFA Europa League in the 2016–2017 season. He got voted into the UEFA Europa League squad for that season. In addition to that, he won the EFL Cup (2016–17) and FA Community Shield (2016) with the club.

While the list of African players who have represented Manchester United may not be extensive, several individuals have made their mark and contributed to the club's success. The contributions of these African players highlight the club's global reach and the talent that has emerged from the African continent.

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This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago

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