Top 10 best African footballers to ever play in Europe
The African continent has produced some of the finest players in history, with plenty of its top players going on to become unshakable legends of the game. Many of them came from truly modest surroundings before going on to take over the game at its highest level. Despite the continent having never brought home the FIFA World Cup, they have forged unforgettable memories both on the international and the club stage. At several top European clubs, these men have forged legends that will go down forever; names that will never be forgotten thousands of miles away from their birthplaces. Overcoming a million obstacles from poverty and suffering to racism and xenophobia, these men have shown the entire world the power that football has to change lives. Many of them have gone on to become giants in their nations, using their influence to save people’s lives, promote equality and give future stars a chance to thrive. So let’s hurry up and count down the top 10 African football players to take their skills to the pinnacles of European football!
10. Kolo Toure
Kolo Abib Toure is one of the greatest Ivorian footballers ever, born on the 19th March 1981 in Bouake, Ivory Coast. He began his career at ASEC Mimosas (winning 2 league titles) before moving to Arsenal in 2002 for £150,000 after a short trial. There, he only made his first-team debut in the following season in a Community Shield victory against future club Liverpool. His first goal for the Gunners was in a 1-1 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The following season, he made 37 appearances as Arsene Wenger’s side went the whole campaign unbeaten, making history in 2003/2004. By 2006, he was a stalwart of the Premier League, keeping 10 consecutive clean sheets as Arsenal reached their first and only UEFA Champions League final. 2 years later, he moved to Manchester City for £14 million, where he won the Premier League, the FA Cup & the Community Shield. After 4 successful years, he moved on to Liverpool, where he was part of that thrilling Brendan Rodgers side that scored over 100 goals but just fell short. In 2016, Liverpool announced the end of his contract.
He is the 2nd most capped Ivorian footballer in history with 118 caps, and has represented his nation at 3 World Cups and 7 Africa Cup of Nations, finally winning it in 2015 as he scored the winning penalty in the Equatorial Guinea on his final international appearance. He has scored 7 goals for his country and has been a major rock in their defence, his extensive experience being used in 3 of England’s biggest clubs.