George Weah: The Only African Footballer to Win a Balon D’or

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Former professional footballer turned politician George Weah is the current President of Liberia. Weah rose to prominence during his playing days and secured a place in Africa’s football history. He’s the only African to date to win the prestigious Balon d’Or award and be named the FIFA Best Player of the Year. Find out more about George Weah below.

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George Weah’s Early Days

George Weah was born on 1 October 1966 in Monvoria, Liberia. He grew up in Clara Town and was raised by his grandmother after his parents separated. George studied at the Muslim Congress and Wells Hairston High School. Sources indicate that he didn’t complete his studies.

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Beginning of His Footballing Career

George Weah first played football for the Young Survivor Youth Club when he was 15 years old. He went on and played for two other clubs, Invincible Eleven and Might Barolle. Weah was a star in these clubs and even notched 24 goals in 23 games for Invincible Eleven. 

Cameroon scout Claude Le Roy helped him join Yaound Side FC and, later, AS Monaco in France.  

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George Weah in Europe

In 1988, Weah joined the French club AS Monaco which was under the stewardship of Arsene Wenger. He had an immediate impact as he won the African Footballer of the Year award in 1989. In 1991, Weah lifted the Coupe de France. 

The following year, he joined Paris Saint Germain and equally won titles. He won the French League, Coupe de France and Coupe de La Ligue. After three years, Weah was on the move again. This time, he joined Italian giants AC Milan.

Success followed him at the club. Weah won the Scudetto twice and was the league’s top goalscorer in his second season in Italy. 

From there, he played for English side Manchester City and Chelsea before he returned to France with Marseille. Weah finished off his career at Abu Dhabi-based club Al Jazira. 

Internationally, George Weah played for Liberia 75 times and scored 18 goals.

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George Weah’s Awards

Weah, whose nickname was King George, was praised for his stamina, attacking prowess, physical presence, and technical ability. Wherever he went, he made an impact. He produced individual moments of brilliance and was also a great team player. This earned him lots of praise. 

In 1995, Weah made history when he became the first African footballer to win the Balon d’Or. He also won the BBC African Footballer of the Year and FIFA World Player of the Year.

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Off The Field

During his playing days, Weah didn’t forget his country. He served as the United Nations and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, enabling him to do humanitarian work. Additionally, Weah started a football academy in his hometown, Monrovia, to help kids stay in school.

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Political Career

In 2005, George Weah announced his bid to vie for Liberia’s presidency. He lost the vote to Sir Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. He vied two more times before he finally captured the seat in 2016, before that. Weah was a senator for Montserrado County.

George Weah was a true icon for Africa and remains an inspiration to many upcoming footballers.

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