UCL Final: Africans Who Have Scored in the Final of the Champions League

UCL Final: Africans Who Have Scored in the Final of the Champions League
Credit: Icon Sport

Saturday 10 June 2023 will see Manchester City attempt to win their first European title in their second-ever UEFA Champions League final. Their opponents will be Serie A giants Internazionale Milano, colloquially known as Internazionale, Inter Milan or Inter, who will be playing in their sixth final and looking for their fourth title.  Both teams have Africans in their ranks; Algeria Desert Foxes winger Riyad Mahrez for Manchester City and former Cameroon Indomitable Lions goalkeeper André Onana for Inter.

In honour of both AFCON players, here are the Africans who have scored in a Champions League final.

Nigerians who have won the Champions League

First, we are going to start with players from the Nigeria national football team who have had the privilege of playing in the final of Europe’s most prestigious club tournament.

A number of Nigeria Super Eagles and Super Eagles prospects have played in the competition, with some like Victor Osimhen and Obafemi Martins performing exploits. The list of winners from Nigeria, however, is small.

Of the many Nigerian internationals who have come out and lined up to the majestic anthem of the Champions League, only Finidi George, Kanu Nwankwo and John Obi Mikel have been privileged to lift the trophy.

Finidi George and Kanu Nwankwo both lifted it with Ajax in the 1995 final and Obi Mikel lifted it in the 2012 final with Chelsea. None have scored in the final.

Africans who have scored in the Champions League final

Just as there are Nigerians who have won the Champions League final without scoring in it, there are a number of Africans who have done the same.

On the flip side, there is a small list of African players who have scored in the final of Europe’s most elite competition. They are as follows:

Rabah Madjer

In 1987, Rabah Madjer of Algeria scored a superb backheel goal to help Portuguese Primeira Liga side FC Porto defeat Bayern Munich to win their first-ever Champions League title. He is the first African to score in the final and his goal put Africa on the map in the competition.

His goal was the equaliser and he also assisted Porto’s second goal in the final, which ended up being the winning goal.

Madjer spent six years at Porto between 1985 and 1991 and was named the best Algerian player of all time for his exploits with the Portuguese side. He is also considered a Porto legend.

Samuel Eto’o

Samuel Eto’o is widely considered to be one of the best African footballers of all time. His exploits at Barcelona, with whom he appeared in two finals, were legendary.

He scored in both finals (2005 and 2009) and went on to appear in another final, playing for Inter, the finalists of the 2023 final.

He is the only African to score two goals in the Champions League final to date and the first since Madjer to score in the final.

Didier Drogba

Chelsea legend Didier Drogba scored in the 2012 Champions League final to hand the Blues a lifeline. They would take this lifeline and capitalise on it, leading them to win the first of their two Champions League titles to date.

He is a fan favourite at Stamford Bridge for a lot of things, but that goal holds a special place in the hearts of most Chelsea fans.

Sadio Mané

Sadio Mané, like Eto’o, has appeared in three UEFA Champions League finals. However, he remains the only African to score in a final and not win the competition.

His equalising goal for Liverpool in the 2019 final against Real Madrid was nothing but consolation at best, as Gareth Bale would take matters into his own hands to give Madrid their thrid-straight title that season.

Mané would eventually win a Champions League title, however, creating the goal which the last African on this list would score to clinch the trophy.

Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah is the most recent African to score in a UEFA Champions League final. He has been to three finals and scored in one, helping Liverpool to win the only one he scored in.

He is touted as the only African who is capable of four Champions League final appearances thanks to the strength of the team he plays in. He is also one of the highest-scoring Africans in the competition.

This article was most recently revised and updated 12 months ago

All-round lover of the beautiful game. Massive football fan, supported Arsenal for decades for reasons that are unexplainable. One day we will win the Champions League!