African Footballers Who Made It To Stardom Abroad

Published: 2022-02-03 By: The Guru


“Big Football” - I think we can expect someone to coin this term (inspired by the likes of Big Pharma and Big Oil) in relation to some of the best-known and richest football teams in the world. These “big football” clubs have a habit of absorbing talent from some of the most remote countries of the globe, strengthening their ranks to perform better in their respective national and continental leagues. Often, the players they scout become major international stars with fans all over the world that football lovers around the globe remember to this day.

This has happened to these African players who left their countries to become famed and revered players abroad.

Eusébio (Mozambique)

You can’t research football bets in Mozambique without stumbling into the name Eusébio, one of the best-known and most beloved players ever to set foot on a Portuguese football field.

Born and raised in Maputo - then called Lourenço Marques - he started his professional career at the local club Sporting Lourenço Marques, where he scored 77 goals in his 42 league games. As you might expect, he soon advanced to the next level, joining Portuguese team Benfica in 1961. And this is where his true career started.

During his time in Lisbon, Eusébio - nicknamed Black Panther or Black Pearl - played 301 league games with the club, scoring on average slightly more than one goal in each match (317 in total). He won 11 Primera Liga titles with the team, a European Cup, and took home the Ballon D’Or in 1965. 

Nwankwo Kanu (Nigeria)

There are many excellent Nigerian footballers playing abroad but one of the best - and best-known - of them all is Nwankwo Kanu. Born and raised in Owerri, Nigeria, he started his professional career with the local club Heartland F.C. before he was spotted by the scouts of Ajax. He spent a few years in the Netherlands and Italy before joining the Premier League team Arsenal in 1999. 

Playing as a forward for the Gunners, he stepped on the pitch in 119 league games, scored 30 goals, and became one of the few footballers in history to win the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League, UEFA Cup and an Olympic Gold Medal.

Abedi Ayew or Abedi Pele (Ghana)

Finally, let us mention one of the greatest African footballers of all time who made a name for himself not just as the captain of Ghana’s national football team but also as a legendary attacking midfielder at Olympique de Marseille.

With Marseille, Abedi Pele won two Ligue 1 titles along with a UEFA Champions League, with the Black Stars, he won an AFCON and three West African Nations Cup titles, he was named the African Footballer of the Year three years in a row, and made it on Pelé’s FIFA 100 list of the greatest living footballers, unveiled in 2004.



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