Every football player's dream is to play in the UEFA Champions League final. The competition is contested by top-flight clubs from all over Europe, and many African players have been fortunate to win the coveted trophy.
Following last Saturday's UEFA Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, we take a look at the top ten African players to have won the trophy.
10. Abdi Pele
The Ghanaian spent several years in Europe, but it was his time at Marseille that solidified his reputation as one of Africa's all-time greats.
During the 1990s, he helped Marseille win three consecutive Ligue 1 titles and was a key figure in the French club's European Cup triumph in 1992/93.
9. Sadio Mane
Mane has been a crucial figure in Liverpool's spectacular success over the past few seasons, and he was instrumental in the club's Champions League triumph in 2019. The Senegal forward also proved during the 17-18 season that he is capable of tormenting Europe's finest defenders, scoring 10 goals in 11 UCL appearances.
8. Bruce Grobbelaar
The Zimbabwean is unquestionably one of Africa's most accomplished players, having won six league titles, three FA Cups, and the European Cup during his time with Liverpool. He helped the Reds to overcome AS Roma in a UEFA Champions League penalty shootout and became the first independent African to win the prestigious trophy.
7. Mohammed Salah
Salah played a key role in Liverpool's Champions League winning team in 2019 against Tottenham Hotspur. After missing out on the Champions League final against Real Madrid in 2018, he won the Premier League in 2020. Salah has been amazing since his arrival in English football; he's a three-time Golden Boot winner.
6. Samuel Kuffour
Kuffour is one of Africa's most accomplished footballers, having won six Bundesliga titles and four German Cups, as well as the Intercontinental Cup and the Champions League. By defeating Valencia on penalties in 2001, the Ghanaian assisted Bayern Munich in winning the coveted Cup.
5. Michael Essien
Following the arrival of Jose Mourinho in 2004, the no-nonsense, tough-tackling midfielder was instrumental in Chelsea's success, helping the team win a series of Premier League and FA Cup titles. In the 2011/12 season, the Essien added the Champions League trophy to his illustrious career after the Blues defeated Bayern Munich on penalties.
4. Nwankwo Kanu
The Nigerian played for some of Europe's most prestigious clubs, but he will definitely remember his three years at Ajax Amsterdam, where he won the Champions League trophy. Kanu scored 24 goals in 35 games for the Dutch giants before moving to Inter Milan. His time at Arsenal is also well-known, but earning a Champions League medal with Ajax will undoubtedly be one of the Nigerian's fondest memories.
3. Didier Drogba
Didier Drogba, a player who needs no introduction, made his impact by scoring 44 Champions League goals, solidifying his position as the best African scorer in the high-profile competition. Drogba's finest moments came in the 2011/12 season, when he scored a late equalizer in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich before scoring the winning penalty kick as Chelsea won their first European title.
In the 2008/09 season, Yaya helped Barcelona win the Champions League. The Ivorian is best known for his performance in the final against Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo, in which he kept the Portuguese superstar quiet for the full 90 minutes. In 2011, the tough-tackling midfielder also assisted Barcelona in winning the Champions League.
Eto'o’s presence at the top of this list is unsurprising. With three Champions League titles and league titles in La Liga and Italy, the two-time African Cup of Nations winner is without a doubt Africa's most decorated player in Europe.
In the 2005/06 and 2008/09 seasons, he was an integral part of Barcelona's European glory, becoming only the second player to score in two Champions League finals. After assisting Inter Milan to victory in the 2009/10 season, the Cameroonian became the fourth player to win the competition two seasons in a row.