African players who won the UCL with Spanish and German clubs

African players who won the UCL with Spanish and German clubs
Credit: Icon Sport

The 2023/24 Champions League final is set to be an electrifying clash as Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund face off at Wembley.

With Real Madrid pursuing their 15th title and Dortmund striving for their second, the stage is set for a historic showdown.

This final could also see a new African player etch their name onto the prestigious trophy, adding to the illustrious list of Africans who have triumphed in the Champions League with Spanish and German clubs.

As the world anticipates the final performances of Toni Kroos and Marco Reus, let's take a moment to celebrate the African players who have already left their mark on this grand competition.

African players who won the UCL with Spanish clubs

Geremi – Real Madrid

African players: Geremi
Credit: @DeparSports on X

The first African to win a UEFA Champions League title with a Spanish club was Geremi, a former Cameroonian footballer renowned for his versatility.

Geremi excelled as a right back, right midfielder, and defensive midfielder, celebrated for his power, pace, combative style, and proficiency in taking free-kicks.

Geremi's club career reached its zenith at Real Madrid and Chelsea.

At Real Madrid, he achieved remarkable success, securing two Champions League winner's medals during his three-year stint at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.

His tenure with the Spanish giants was marked by significant contributions, including scoring two memorable goals.

The first came as a late winner in a 2000 FIFA Club World Championship match against Raja Casablanca, where Geremi's decisive strike came after Madrid had been reduced to eight men.

His second notable goal was against Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the 2001–02 UEFA Champions League, further cementing his legacy.

Samuel Eto'o – FC Barcelona

Former Barcelona and Inter Milan player Samuel Eto'o
Credit: Iconsport

Samuel Eto'o, a prominent Cameroonian football administrator and former player, currently serves as the president of the Cameroonian Football Federation.

Eto'o played a crucial role in Barcelona's victorious 2005–06 Champions League campaign, scoring six goals throughout the tournament.

One of the most pivotal moments came in the final against Arsenal.

Early in the match, Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was sent off for fouling Eto'o just outside the penalty area.

Despite their numerical advantage, Barcelona struggled to break through until Eto'o scored the equalising goal in the second half.

Barcelona ultimately won the match 2–1, and Eto'o's performance earned him the UEFA Best Forward of the Year award for his achievements during the European campaign.

Eto'o continued to shine in the 2008–09 season, particularly in the Champions League Final against Manchester United.

He scored the opening goal, setting the stage for Barcelona's 2–0 victory.

This triumph was a key component of Barcelona's historic Treble, where they won La Liga, the Copa del Rey, and the Champions League in the same season.

The formidable attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto'o, and Thierry Henry scored a remarkable 100 goals between them, with Eto'o contributing 36 of those goals.

Yaya Touré – FC Barcelona

Yaya Toure contends with Mikel Obi at the AFCON
Credit: Icon Sport

Yaya Touré, an Ivorian professional football coach and former player, made a significant mark on European football during his illustrious playing career.

Known primarily as a midfielder, Touré's versatility and exceptional skill set allowed him to excel in various roles on the pitch.

Touré's journey with Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League began in the 2007–08 season.

His first match in the competition for the club was against Schalke 04 in the quarter-finals, where Barcelona secured a 2–0 aggregate victory to advance to the semi-finals.

One of the most remarkable moments of Touré's career came in the 2009 Champions League final against Manchester United.

Due to injuries and suspensions of Barcelona's first-choice defenders, Touré was deployed as a centre-back, a position he had only played twice before for the club.

Despite the unfamiliar role, Touré delivered an outstanding performance, helping Barcelona secure a 2–0 victory and win the prestigious trophy.

Seydou Keita – FC Barcelona

Seydou Keita in action for Roma
Credit: Iconsport

Seydou Keita, a former professional footballer from Mali, made a significant impact during his career with his versatility and skill as a central or defensive midfielder.

Known for his tactical intelligence and work rate, Keita played a crucial role in Barcelona's midfield during one of the most successful periods in the club's history.

Keita made his official debut for Barcelona in a Champions League qualifier against Poland's Wisła Kraków on 13 August 2008, contributing to a convincing 4–0 home victory.

In his first season at the Camp Nou, Keita made 46 official appearances, showcasing his importance to the team.

Barcelona achieved the historic treble that season, winning La Liga, the Copa del Rey, and the UEFA Champions League.

Keita's contributions were vital throughout the campaign, culminating in the Champions League final against Manchester United.

In that match, Keita came on as a substitute for Thierry Henry, playing the final 20 minutes and helping Barcelona secure a 2–0 victory.

His achievements with Barcelona, especially in the Champions League, highlight his place among the top African players who have excelled in European football.

Achraf Hakimi – Real Madrid

Achraf Hakimi in action for Morocco
Credit: Icon Sport

Achraf Hakimi is a professional footballer known for his dynamic play as a right-back or right winger for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and the Morocco national team.

Recognised as one of the best full-backs in the world, Hakimi combines exceptional speed, technical skill, and tactical awareness, making him a standout performer in both domestic and international football.

Hakimi began his professional career with Real Madrid Castilla in 2016, quickly demonstrating his potential and earning a promotion to the first team in 2017.

His breakthrough came during the 2017–18 UEFA Champions League season, where he made two appearances for Real Madrid under the age of 18.

Despite his limited game time, Hakimi's contributions were part of Real Madrid's triumphant campaign, as the club secured their third consecutive Champions League title and 13th overall.

Nation Player Season Team Final Result
Cameroon Geremi 2000 Real Madrid Real Madrid 3 Valencia 0
Cameroon Samuel Eto'o 2006, 2009, 2010 Barcelona Barcelona 2 Arsenal 1; Barcelona 2 Manchester United 0
Ivory Coast Yaya Toure 2009 Barcelona Barcelona 2 Manchester United 0
Mali Seydou Keita 2009, 2011 Barcelona Barcelona 2 Manchester United 0; Barcelona 3 Manchester United 1
Morocco Achraf Hakimi 2018 Real Madrid Real Madrid 3 Liverpool 1

African players who won the UCL with German clubs

Ibrahim Tanko – Borussia Dortmund 

 

Ibrahim Tanko is a Ghanaian retired footballer who played primarily as a second striker or attacking midfielder.

After his playing career, he transitioned into scouting and management, most recently serving as the head coach of the Ghana A' national football team, also known as the local Black Stars.

Tanko's professional career spanned 15 years, during which he played mostly in Germany, representing Borussia Dortmund and Freiburg.

Despite being plagued by injuries, Tanko managed to make significant contributions to his teams, particularly during his time at Borussia Dortmund.

One of the highlights of Tanko's career was his participation in Borussia Dortmund's 1996–97 UEFA Champions League campaign.

During this historic season, Tanko featured in three matches, all as a late substitute.

Samuel Kuffour – Bayern Munich

Samuel Kuffour for Bayern
Credit: @MusialaEra on X

Samuel Kuffour is a Ghanaian former professional footballer who played as a centre-back.

Known for his physical power and defensive prowess, Kuffour is best remembered for his illustrious career with Bayern Munich, where he spent over a decade and became a club legend.

Kuffour joined Bayern Munich as a youth player and quickly rose through the ranks to become a key member of the first team.

Over 11 seasons with Bayern, he made nearly 250 official appearances and won a remarkable 14 honours, including multiple Bundesliga titles and domestic cups.

His tenure at Bayern Munich solidified his reputation as one of the most formidable defenders of his time.

A significant highlight of Kuffour's career was his role in Bayern's victorious 2000–01 UEFA Champions League campaign.

He was an integral part of the squad that triumphed in the final, securing the prestigious trophy.

However, Kuffour is also remembered for the dramatic 1999 Champions League final against Manchester United.

Despite Bayern's heart-wrenching defeat due to two late goals, Kuffour's passionate response—beating the ground in frustration—endeared him to fans and highlighted his commitment to the club.

Kuffour made history as the youngest defender ever to score in the Champions League, achieving this feat at the age of 18 years and 61 days in a match against FC Spartak Moscow on 2 November 1994, which ended in a 2–2 draw.

Throughout his career, he made over 60 UEFA Champions League appearances, cementing his status as one of the most decorated African players in the competition's history.

After 12 seasons and 175 Bundesliga appearances, Kuffour left Bayern Munich in 2005.

Nation Player Season Team Final Result
Ghana Ibrahim Tanko 1997 Borussia Dortmund Borussia Dortmund 3 Juventus 1
Ghana Samuel Kuffour 2001 Bayern Munich Bayern Munich 1 Valencia 1 (Bayern won 5-4 on pens)

This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago

Rababe Koussaimi, a 22-year-old journalist, is deeply passionate about the world of sports. She grew up in a footballing environment, supporting both Bayern Munich and Wydad Athletic Club. She began her English journalism career by hosting a podcast for the first English radio station in Morocco. Currently, the Moroccan journalist channels her enthusiasm into writing and conducting extensive research, creating insightful and engaging content for GoalBall Live readers.