The FIFA World Cup is the pinnacle of World Football, but the UEFA Champions League stands out in world football as well. It is to this effect that we've decided to bring to you the current list of African players that had the luxury of having won Europe's most prestigious club trophy, the UEFA Champions League.
First, we'll like to point out that the first African player to ever win the champions league was Bruce Grobbelaar, from Zimbabwe. He won the competition in 1984 with Liverpool when it was still called European Champions Cup. Since then, many other African players have etched their names into the list of winners.
Legend Abedi Pele won the competition in 1993 with Olympique Marseille, before the Super Eagles duo of Finidi George and Nwankwo Kanu lifted the Cup with Ajax Amsterdam in 1995. Geremi of Cameroon was the first African star to win it twice after lifting the famous cup in 2000 and 2002 with Real Madrid.
In 2012, Didier Drogba, John Obi Mikel, Salomon Kalou and Michael Essien were in the Chelsea team that won the European crown.
It'll interest you to know that a total of five African players have won the champions league while playing for Liverpool. The most recent of them are Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Joel Matip and Naby Keita who all joined the list of African players that have won the Champions League courtesy of Liverpool's 2-0 win over Tottenham in Madrid in 2019.
Next to that are Edouard Mendy and Hakim Ziyech who won it with Chelsea in 2021. However, the most recent African to win the UCL is Riyad Mahrez of Algeria, who won it with Manchester City in 2023. His City side defeated Inter Milan 1-0 at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey.
With Riyad Mahrez addition, a total of 26 African players have now won the European Cup/Champions League, with 24 of those winners coming in the post 1992/Champions League era. Here is the list of past winners, their country, club, and season below:
List of African Players That Have Won the Champions League
Bruce Grobbelaar [Zimbabwe] – Liverpool FC, 1983-1984
Rabah Madjer [Algeria] – FC Porto, 1986-1987
Abedi Pelé [Ghana] – Olympique de Marseille, 1992-1993
Finidi George [Nigeria] – Ajax, 1994-1995
Nwankwo Kanu [Nigeria] – Ajax, 1994-1995
Ibrahim Tanko [Ghana] – Borussia Dortmund, 1997
Samuel Kuffour [Ghana] – FC Bayern Munich 2000-2001
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Geremi [Cameroon] – Real Madrid, 2000 & 2002
Benni McCarthy [South Africa] – FC Porto, 2003-2004
Djimi Traoré [Mali] – Liverpool FC, 2004-2005
Samuel Eto’o [Cameroon] – FC Barcelona, 2006, 2009 & Inter Milan, 2010
Yaya Touré [Côte d’Ivoire] – FC Barcelona, 2008-2009
Seydou Keita [Mali] – FC Barcelona, 2008-2009, 2010-2011
Sulley Muntari [Ghana] – Inter Milan, 2009-2010
McDonald Mariga [Kenya] – Inter Milan 2009 – 2010
John Obi Mikel [Nigeria] – Chelsea FC, 2011-2012
Michael Essien [Ghana] – Chelsea FC, 2011-2012
Salomon Kalou [Ivory Coast] – Chelsea FC, 2011-2012
Didier Drogba [Ivory Coast] – Chelsea FC, 2011-2012
Achraf Hakimi [Morocco] – Real Madrid FC, 2017-2018
Mohamed Salah (Egypt) – Liverpool, 2019
Sadio Mane [Senegal] – Liverpool, 2019
Joel Matip [Cameroon] – Liverpool, 2019
Naby Keita [Guinea] – Liverpool, 2019
Édouard Mendy [Senegal] – Chelsea, 2021
Hakim Ziyech [Morocco] – Chelsea, 2021
Riyad Mahrez [Algeria] – Manchester City, 2023
Unfortunately, players like Rasheed Yekini, Mohamed Aboutrika, Asamoah Gyan, Roger Milla, Hossam Hassan and Essam El-Hadary, Jay-Jay Okocha never had the opportunity to win Europe’s most elite club competition trophy.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 months ago