Best African soccer players in history - 10 Black Continent Football Legends

04/04/2024 Betting News

Africa is nicknamed the “Dark Continent,” once a colony of the West, including countries like England, France and the United States. The African continent is less developed and somewhat lagging behind the rest of the world. Of course, football is no exception. However, the interesting thing is that Africa has produced many outstanding players, talented and renowned, rivaling anyone else. They bring with them a thirst for change, transforming the football scene from its previously backward state to a robust one. It’s been a long journey, and there’s no sign of it stopping. Right now, let’s take a look at Best African soccer players all of time with admin Wintips.

Top 10 best African soccer players in history
Top 10 best African soccer players in history

What are the best African soccer players of all time?

1/ Didier Drogba

Drogba is the first African player to reach the milestone of 100 goals in the Premier League. The Ivorian legend amassed 4 Premier League titles, 1 Champions League trophy with Chelsea, and won the Premier League Golden Boot twice. He is a standout figure in Chelsea’s most successful era, having clinched 4 Premier League titles and scored 164 goals across two spells in West London.

Top 10 best African soccer players in history
Drogba is the No. 1 star for Chelsea and the Ivory Coast national team

Arguably, Drogba’s greatest goal in his career came in the 2012 Champions League final. The former Ivory Coast captain scored the equalizer in the dying minutes against Bayern Munich. In the penalty shootout, he stepped up to take the decisive spot-kick, securing Chelsea’s first-ever European crown.

2/ Samuel Eto’o – Best African soccer players

FourFourTwo, a renowned football magazine, lauds Samuel Eto’o as one of the most exceptional forwards in the history of football. His illustrious career is adorned with numerous achievements, making him a legendary figure in the sport. Eto’o’s prowess shone brightly on the grandest stages of European football, notably during his stints with Barcelona and Inter Milan.

Eto'o's career in Europe was monumental
Eto’o’s career in Europe was monumental

With Barcelona, he played a pivotal role in their success, contributing significantly to their UEFA Champions League triumphs in 2006 and 2009. His speed, skill, and clinical finishing made him a nightmare for defenders, earning him admiration from fans worldwide. However, Eto’o’s influence extended beyond club football. Representing the Cameroon national team, he showcased his talent on the international stage as well.

3/ Mohamed Salah – Best African soccer players

Salah’s collective achievements are essentially similar to those of Sadio Mane. Both have almost collected all the major trophies, and could have won even more if not for being rivals of a dominant Man City in the domestic arena. However, on an individual level, the Egyptian star stands out.

Top 10 best African soccer players in history
Striker Salah is the greatest striker in Egyptian history

In terms of the Premier League Golden Boot award, Salah has claimed it three times, with the most recent being this season. Prior to that, Salah also shattered the record for the highest number of goals by an African player in the Premier League, previously held by Drogba (who had 117 goals).

4/ Riyad Mahrez

Mahrez was honored as the PFA Player of the Year for the remarkable 2015/16 season with Leicester City. At that time, the Algerian winger formed the top duo alongside Jamie Vardy in the Premier League. Indeed, Mahrez is the player with the most exquisite dribbling skills in the league.

Top 10 best African soccer players in history
Leicester then Man City, Mahrez both played impressively

His name began to draw attention when he helped Leicester City win the historic Premier League title in the 2015/2016 season. In 2018, Mahrez moved to Manchester City in a £60 million deal. In the 2022/2023 season, Mahrez, along with the team at the Etihad Stadium, achieved an unprecedented treble: the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League.

5/ Yaya Toure – Best African soccer players

Considered one of the greatest African players of all time, Yaya Toure is regarded as one of the marquee signings that helped transform Manchester City into a dominant force in English football. Toure won consecutive La Liga titles and three continental trebles with Barcelona before joining “The Citizens” for a transfer fee of £24 million.

One of the best midfielders in the EPL named Yaya Toure
One of the best midfielders in the EPL named Yaya Toure

He ended his first season at the Etihad with an FA Cup triumph, the club’s first major trophy in 35 years. The 2013/14 season was Toure’s standout campaign. The Ivorian international scored an impressive 20 goals and provided 9 assists despite playing in midfield. Toure captained the Ivory Coast to the AFCON title in 2015.

6/ Kolo Toure – Best African soccer players

Kolo Toure is one of the rare African players to have won the Premier League title with two different clubs. He was a teammate of Kanu and Lauren in Arsenal’s Invincibles squad. Later, he moved to Manchester City and continued to win the league title with the Sky Blues. Toure could have made history if his Liverpool team had won the Premier League in 2013/14, a tournament where The Kop had a great chance but unexpectedly stumbled in the decisive stage.

Yaya's brother at Ivory Coast - Kolo Toure
Yaya’s brother at Ivory Coast – Kolo Toure

After parting ways with the Emirates Stadium, the Ivorian player played for both Manchester City and Liverpool, becoming one of the eight players to win the Premier League with two different clubs. No African player has appeared more times than Kolo Toure in the Premier League (352 matches).

7/ Michael Essien

Michael Essien’s arrival at Chelsea from Lyon, during a period when the French club was dominating Ligue 1, marked a significant moment in both his career and Chelsea’s trajectory under the guidance of Jose Mourinho. Mourinho’s intention was clear: to bolster Chelsea’s midfield with Essien’s boundless energy and all-around ability, enhancing the team’s winning machine.

Top 10 best African soccer players in history
M. Essien is an extremely excellent interception midfielder

Essien wasted no time in making his mark in the Premier League, instilling fear in opposition teams with his relentless work rate and versatile skill set. In his debut season with Chelsea, Essien played a pivotal role as the club clinched the Premier League title. The following season, he was recognized as Chelsea’s Player of the Year, becoming the first African player to receive this accolade—a testament to his immense contribution on the pitch.

8/ Edouard Mendy – Best African soccer players

Chelsea signed Edouard Mendy from Rennes in 2020. In his debut season at the new club, the Senegalese international had a standout performance in Chelsea’s journey to clinch the Champions League title. Mendy equaled the record for the most clean sheets in a single season (9). Conceded only 2 goals in 7 knockout stage matches as the West London club were crowned European champions.

Mendy's talent was tested by winning the Champions League
Mendy’s talent was tested by winning the Champions League

His remarkable displays earned Mendy the Best Men’s Goalkeeper award from FIFA. Subsequently, he added the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup to his trophy cabinet. The former Rennes goalkeeper also featured in the Senegal national team that won the AFCON for the first time in 2022.

9/ Jay-Jay Okocha – Best African soccer players

Jay-Jay Okocha is widely regarded by experts as one of the most entertaining players to have ever graced the Premier League. Bolton Wanderers secured Okocha’s signature in 2002, marking a significant moment in the club’s history. Prior to his time in England, Okocha had already established himself as a footballing icon, having won the African Cup of Nations in 1994 and the Olympic gold medal in 1996 with the Nigerian national team.

Top 10 best African soccer players in history
Jay Okocha is the few South African players remembered in the Premier League

His illustrious career also saw him clinch the Nigerian Player of the Year award on seven occasions. Upon his arrival at Bolton Wanderers, Okocha quickly endeared himself to fans with his mesmerizing skill and flair on the pitch. Known for his sublime dribbling ability, audacious tricks, and eye-catching creativity, Okocha became a fan favorite at the Reebok Stadium.

10/ John Obi Mikel

Obi Mikel was never the brightest star in Chelsea’s lineup. However, his resilience and stability helped him stay at Stamford Bridge for a decade despite many ups and downs. Alongside Chelsea, Mikel won 2 Premier League titles, as well as the FA Cup, Champions League, and Europa League.

Top 10 best African soccer players in history
Midfielder Obi Mikel is a well-known name in Africa

Overall, the Nigerian midfielder achieved everything a player needs to achieve in the colors of The Blues. When he left Chelsea in 2017, Mikel was honored as a legend. Even though his time at Chelsea came to an end, Mikel’s legacy lives on as one of the club’s unsung heroes. His contributions, though often understated, played a significant role in shaping Chelsea’s success during one of the most illustrious periods in the club’s history.


The best African soccer players in history is probably not unfamiliar to football fans around the world. They have been and are pioneers in the modernization journey of football on their continent. These football stars even bring many benefits in other areas such as politics and society. Thanks to this, we can see how football in particular and sports in general contribute to community connectivity. If you love these players, then follow, support, and bet on matches where they appear at reputable internet bookmaker right now.

See also: Top 10 shortest goalkeeper in Premier League 2023/24 season

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