Modern Ghana logo

FEATURED: Can We Blame Religion For Africa’s Economic Woes?...

26.04.2019 Football News

Top Five: Ligue 1’s Greatest African Winners
Sports Top Five: Ligue 1’s Greatest African Winners

As Eric Maxim Choupo Moting’s Paris Saint Germain finally get over the line in France, Ed Dove ranks Africa’s top five greatest former winners.

426201991947 rwnyqdcp53 choupomoting b7xquz108z8u1c2oyk1pv5bik1024x576

Choupo Moting
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s Paris Saint-Germain finally confirmed their Ligue 1 title triumph on Sunday, with LOSC Lille’s failure to beat Toulouse earlier in the day rending moot their later 3-1 victory over AS Monaco. PSG fans were made to wait for their title, with Thomas Tuchel’s side taking just one point from their previous three fixtures before this weekend.

However, having now secured the title, Cameroon’s Choupo-Moting can add his name to Africa’s former winners, while Christopher Nkunku, Colin Dagba, Stanley N’Soki and Moussa Diaby will also get their hands on medals.

In this feature, Goal’s Ed Dove ranks the top five greatest African players to win French football’s top prize.

426201991948 h41o2s6fey mahamadoudiarraofrealmadrid etqnoi7p8xj11ct17udislybv1024x577

Mahamadou Diarra
The great stat that underpins Diarra’s legacy—and his place on this list—his relentless winning form domestically between 2002 and 2008.

For a six-year run, the Mali captain won consecutive league titles with Olympique Lyonnais in France, and then in Spain, with Real Madrid, after moving to La Liga.

A tough-tackling midfielder, he was a critical component of Los Blancos as they ended their four-year wait for a domestic title by pipping Barcelona on head-to-head record.

After finishing third with Mali at the U-20 World Cup in 1999, Diarra was part of an Aigles squad that twice reached the Africa Cup of Nations semi-final.

426201991948 vaqdthgtsn salifkeitaofmali ngqs3rsvsnsv1h3v9sok7xznj1024x578

Salif Keita
Another Malian, Keita went one further than Diarra with the national side, guiding Les Aigles to the final in 1972 when they were defeated by Congo-Brazzaville.

Two years earlier, he’d been named African Footballer of the Year, and enjoyed great success as a young striker in his homeland.

After moving to France—and Saint-Etienne—he won a trio of Ligue 1 titles, and also picked up a Portuguese Cup with Sporting Lisbon.

426201991948 k5fri7u2h0 lyonsghaneanmidfieldermichaelessienrsylvainwiltord xgf6jxq8bjcp1cnq7rt2reqz01

Michael Essien
Essien won the first two of his four domestic championships in France, with Lyon, where he was a Ligue 1 champion in 2004 and 2005 as part of a magnificent OL side.

He transferred that success to the Premier League, where he’d clinch the title in 2006 and 2010. There were plenty of other successes at Stamford Bridge—notably four FA Cups and the 2012 Champions League—but a litany of injuries steadily slowed the Bison’s progress.

He’d go onto enjoy stints with AC Milan and Real Madrid, and last month moved to Azeri side FK Sabail.

426201991949 g30n1r5edx abedipele cztcdtbxy9781ebsvz2qhvlt51024x578

Abedi Pele
Perhaps Ghana’s greatest player, Pele was a superstar in France, with Olympique de Marseille, winning the Champions League in 1993, two years after he was a defeated finalist.

Like Keita, he won three French titles, all with OM, although the last of this trio was won in controversial style.

The forward—the father of current Black Stars Andre and Jordan Ayew—was an Afcon champion with Ghana in 1982, and was named African Footballer of the Year on three occasions.

426201991949 8dt2wjivup georgeweahpsg 6rv983lj7y8115wiabu3j3sxq1024x576

George Weah
The current Liberia President was a French champion with Paris Saint-Germain, before going on to clinch two Serie A with AC Milan and an FA Cup with Chelsea.

Unexpectedly, his Liberia side weren’t able to leverage his star power into silverware, although they did qualify for two Afcons.

Weah was named African Footballer of the Year twice and remains the only African player to win the Ballon d’Or.