There are already 25 Africans to have their names inscribed in the trophy cabinet of the prestigious UEFA Champions League competition, pending the final of the 66th edition, which will pit Manchester City of Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez against Chelsea of Morocco’s Hakim Ziyech and Senegalese goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
An African will inevitably lift the trophy in the final of the 66th edition, which will pit two English clubs against each other on 29 May 2021 at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey. The two clubs are Manchester City, with Algerian Riyad Mahrez, and Chelsea, with Moroccan Hakim Ziyech and Senegalese goalkeeper Edouard Mendy. This will be the third all-English final after the 2008 and 2019 finals.
Winners of the 2019 edition with Liverpool, Senegal’s Sadio Mané, Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, Guinea’s Naby Keita « Deco » and Cameroon’s Joel Matip have increased the number of African footballers who have won the Champions League from 21 to 25. But Cameroonian legend Samuel Eto’o Fils is the African record holder for winning the cup with the big ears. The Indomitable Lion has won it three times, with FC Barcelona (2006, 2009) and Inter Milan (2010).
Samuel Eto’o Fils is ahead of his compatriot Geremi Njitap, winner with Real Madrid (2000 and 2002) and the Malian Seydou Keita. The former captain of the Eagles has won two C1s with FC Barcelona in 2009 and 2011. On the other hand, Zimbabwean goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar is the first African to lift the Champions League trophy, in 1984 with Liverpool.
Cameroon is the country of African footballers who have won the most C1s, with Samuel Eto’o Fils (3), Geremi Njitap (2), Joël Matip (1). But Ghana has the most winners: Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, Samuel Kuffour, Ibrahim Tanko, Abedi Pele (Ghana/Marseille).
The 25 Africans who won the C1 final (starter or substitute)
Mohamed Salah (Egypt/Liverpool) 2019 Joel Matip (Cameroon/Liverpool) 2019 Naby Keïta "Deco" (Guinea/Liverpool) 2019 Sadio Mané (Senegal/Liverpool) 2019 Achraf Hakimi (Morocco/Real Madrid) 2018 John Obi Mikel (Nigeria/Chelsea) 2012 Salomon Kalou (Ivory Coast/Chelsea) 2012 Michael Essien (Ghana/Chelsea) 2012 Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast/Chelsea) 2012 Seydou Keïta (Mali/FC Barcelona) 2009 and 2011 Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon/FC Barcelona/Inter Milan) 2006, 2009, and 2010 Sulley Muntari (Ghana/Inter Milan) 2010 McDonald Mariga (Kenya/Inter Milan) 2010 Yaya Touré (Ivory Coast/FC Barcelona) 2009 Djimi Traoré (Mali/Liverpool) 2005 Salif Diao (Senegal/Liverpool) 2005 Benni McCarthy (South Africa/FC Porto) 2004 Geremi Njitap (Cameroon/Real Madrid), 2000 and 2002 Samuel Kuffour (Ghana/Bayern) 2001 Ibrahim Tanko (Ghana/Dortmund) 1997 Nwankwo Kanu (Nigeria/Ajax) 1995 Finidi George (Nigeria/Ajax) 1995 Abedi Pele (Ghana/Marseille) 1993 Rabah Madjer (Algeria/FC Porto) 1987 Bruce Grobbelaar (Zimbabwe/Liverpool) 1984