Africans players have certainly played their part in the history of Champions League, with some notable moments and achievements along the way.
Who can forget Michael Essien’s thunderous strike against Barcelona in 2009, or Sammy Kuffour’s emotional despair after Manchester United scored two goals in stoppage time to lift the title in 1999?
With that in mind, Goal reviewed the top 10 African players who have won the Champions League title.
The no-nonsense, tough-tackling midfielder was key to Chelsea’s success following the appointment of Jose Mourinho in 2004, helping the club to a number of Premier League and FA Cups.
The Ghanaian also added the Champions League trophy to his glittering CV when the Blues defeated Bayern Munich on penalties in the 2011/12 campaign.
Although he was an unused substitute in that final, his impact at the London club was huge, especially as he helped fill the void left by Claude Makelele, who left the Blues in 2008.
McCarthy is the only South African to have tasted success in the Champions League. Having impressed with Ajax Amsterdam and Celta Vigo, McCarthy earned himself a loan move to FC Porto in 2002 and scored 12 goals in 11 matches, seeing him secure a permanent move to the Portuguese outfit in 2003.
He played a vital role in Porto’s Champions League triumph in 2004, most notably scoring two goals against Manchester United in the Round of 16. McCarthy also clinched the top scorer’s award in the Portuguese top flight that season, scoring 20 goals in their title-winning campaign.
Geremi is another African export who certainly made a mark in the European game, having featured for Real Madrid, Chelsea and Newcastle United. The Cameroonian will mainly be remembered for his time at Los Blancos, where he helped the Spanish giants win two Champions League titles, one La Liga title and the Spanish Super Cup.
Former Real manager Vicente del Bosque revealed in 2015 that the two-time Africa Cup of Nations winner was one of the leaders in Los Blancos’ dressing room, along with Steve McManaman.
The Nigerian has played for some of Europe’s top clubs, but he will undoubtedly remember his time at Ajax Amsterdam fondly, having the lifted the Champions League trophy during his three-year spell at the club.
Kanu netted 24 goals in 35 appearances for the Dutch giants before earning a move to Italian outfit Inter Milan, where he hardly featured after undergoing surgery to replace an aortic valve in his heart.
He is also well known for his stint at Arsenal, but winning a Champions League medal with Ajax will certainly be one of the Nigerian’s best memories.
Abedi Pele: The Ghanaian spent many years playing in Europe, but it was his spell at Olympique Marseille that cemented his name as one Africa’s greatest ever players.
He helped Marseille clinch three successive Ligue 1 titles during the 1990s and played a vital role in the French outfit’s European Cup triumph in the 1992/93 campaign. He won the African Player of the Year award three times, and was also named in Pele’s top 100 greatest footballers of all time list.
Bruce Grobbelaar: The Zimbabwean is certainly one of Africa’s most successful players, having won a number of trophies during his stint with Liverpool, which included six league titles, three FA Cups and the European Cup.
He became the first independent African to lift the prestigious European Cup after the Reds defeated AS Roma in a penalty shootout – in which the Zimbabwean showed off his famous spaghetti legs in an attempt to distract the opposing penalty takers.
Yaya Toure: Toure has been a dominant force in recent years, helping Manchester City establish themselves as one of Europe’s elite clubs. He’s no stranger to European success, having played a vital role in helping Barcelona clinch the Champions League title in the 2008/09 campaign.
He is fondly remembered for playing centre-back in that final against Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who he silenced for the entire 90 minutes. Toure has been flying the African flag in Europe for some time now, and has certainly established himself as one of the world’s best midfielders.
One of the most memorable images in Champions League history was of Sammy Kuffour crying and beating the ground in the 1999 final after Bayern Munich lost to Manchester United. However, the Ghanaian redeemed himself two years later, when the Bavarians clinched the title by beating Valencia on penalties.
Kuffour is one Africa’s most decorated footballers, having won six Bundesliga titles, four German Cups and the Intercontinental Cup too, along with his Champions League medal.
Didier Drogba: If there is one African who has been key to one club’s success, it’s Didier Drogba. Having joined them in 2004, the Ivorian helped transform Chelsea into a European powerhouse.
He played a vital role in the Blues’ domestic success, helping them win four Premier League titles, four FA Cup titles and three League Cup titles.
However, Drogba’s best moment arrived in the 2011/12 campaign, when he netted a late equaliser in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich, before going on to score the winning spot-kick as the Blues claimed their first title in Europe.
Samuel Eto’o: It is no surprise to see Eto’o at the top of this list. The two-time Afcon winner is, without a doubt, Africa’s most decorated player in Europe, having won the Champions League three times, and league titles in La Liga and Italy too.
He played vital role in Barcelona’s European success in the 2005/06 and 2008/09 seasons, and became only the second player to score in two Champions League finals. The Cameroonian also became the fourth player to win the trophy two seasons in a row, after helping Inter Milan claim the title in the 2009/10 campaign.