LEGENDS - LIBERIA - George Weah moved from Liberia to Europe in 1988
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - 05/2014
George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah
Date of birth:
1 October 1966
Place of birth:
1.84 m (6 ft 1⁄2 in)
Young Survivors Clareton
Mighty Barrolle: 1985-1986
• 10x Apps / 7x goals
Invincible Eleven: 1986-1987
• 23x apps / 24x goals
Africa Sports: 1987
• 2x apps / 1x goals
Tonnerre Yaoundé: 1987-1988
• 18x apps / 14x goals
AS Monaco: 1988-1992
• 103x apps / 47x goals
Paris Saint-Germain: 1992-1995
• 96x apps / 32x goals
AC Milan: 1995-2000
• 114x apps / 46x goals
Chelsea (loan): 2000
• 11 apps / 3x goals
Manchester City: 2000
• 7x apps / 1x goal
Olympique Marseille: 2000-2001
• 19x apps / 5x goals
• 8x apps / 13x goals
• 411x apps / 193x goals
• 60x apps / 22x goals
Regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time, in 1995 he was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d'Or. Three times he won African Footballer of the Year. In 2004, he was named one of the Top 125 greatest living footballers as part of FIFA's 100th anniversary celebration.
George Weah spent fourteen years of his professional football career playing for clubs in France, Italy, and England. Arsène Wenger brought him to Europe when he signed for AS Monaco in 1988. Weah moved to Paris Saint Germain in 1992 where he won Ligue 1 in 1994 and became the top scorer of the UEFA Champions League 1994-95. He signed for AC Milan in 1995 where he spent four very successful seasons, scored some spectacular goals (the most notable being running the length of the field against Verona), and won Serie A twice. He then moved to England and had spells at Chelsea and Manchester City.
In 1988 he was signed by Wenger, the manager of Monaco, whom Weah credits as an important influence on his career. At Monaco, Weah was a member of the team that won the French Cup in 1991. In the 1990s Weah subsequently played for Paris Saint Germain (1992-95), with whom he won the French league in 1994 and became the top scorer of the UEFA Champions League 1994-95; and AC Milan (1995-1999), with whom he won the Italian league in 1996 and 1999.
In 1995 he was named FIFA World Player of the Year and European Footballer of the Year. Weah also became famous at Milan for scoring a wonder goal against Verona at the San Siro. After leaving Milan in January 2000 Weah moved to Chelsea, Manchester City and Olympique Marseille in quick succession, before leaving Marseille in May 2001 for Al Jazira FC, in the United Arab Emirates, where he remained until his retirement as a player in 2003.
As successful as he was at club level, Weah was not able to bring over that success to the Liberian national team. He has done everything with the squad from playing to coaching to financing it, but failed to qualify for a single World Cup, falling just a point short in qualifying for the 2002 tournament.
Weah has been heavily involved in politics in his homeland Liberia. He ran unsuccessfully for president in the 2005 election, losing to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the second round of voting. In the 2011 election he ran for vice.
FIFA World Player of the Year 1995
Weah was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1995, becoming the only African player to win the award. He was the fifth recipient of the award.
African Player of the Year 1989, 1994 and 1995
Weah won the African Footballer of the Year in 1989 when he was with AS Monaco, 1994 when he was at Paris Saint Germain, and 1995 with AC Milan. That year he won almost every award a footballer could win. When he won the award in 1989, it was his first major award and he took it back home for the entire country to celebrate, similar to what he did when he won the world best title and the Onze Mondial title.
European Player of the Year 1995
Weah won the Ballon d'Or (European Player of the Year) in 1995, becoming the only African to win the award. Sports writers from all over Europe voted and awarded Weah as the best player in Europe for the year. When he won the World player of the year he dedicated it to his manager Arsene Wenger who made him a world class player.
Onze Mondial 1995
• The French Magazine name Weah as the top player in Europe for 1995
• FIFA Fair Play Award 1996
• African Player of the Year
African Player of the Century
Weah was voted the African Player of the Century by sport journalists from all around the world. Pelé won the same award as the South American Player of the Century and Johan Cruyff as the European Player of the Century.
Weah was banned from six European matches for breaking the nose of the Portuguese defender Jorge Costa on 20 November 1996 in the players' tunnel after AC Milan's draw at FC Porto.
Weah said he exploded in frustration after putting up with racist tauntings from Jorge Costa during both of the teams' matches that autumn in the Champions League. Costa strenuously denied the accusations of racism and was not charged by UEFA as no witnesses could verify Weah's allegations, not even his Milan team mates.
Weah later attempted to apologise to Costa but this was rebuffed by the Portuguese, who considered the charges of racist insults levelled against him to be defamatory and took the Liberian to court.
The incident led to him undergoing facial surgery and he was subsequently sidelined for three weeks. Despite the incident Weah still received the FIFA Fair Play Award in 1996.
Spell in England
Weah signed for Chelsea on loan from Milan on 11 January 2000, in a deal which would keep him with the West London club until the end of the 1999–2000 English season.
Weah's time in England was deemed a success, especially at Chelsea where he instantly endeared himself to their fans by scoring the winner against rivals Tottenham Hotspur on his debut, and scored further league goals against Wimbledon and Liverpool. He also scored twice in Chelsea's victorious 1999–2000 FA Cup campaign, netting crucial goals against Leicester City and Gillingham. This led to him starting in the final, which Chelsea won 1:0.
Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli did not make Weah's move permanent, and on 1 August 2000 he signed for newly promoted English Premier League side Manchester City on a free transfer on a two-year contract worth £30,000 a week, declining the offer of a £1 million pay-off from Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi.
He played 11 games in all competitions for City, scoring four times, before leaving on 16 October 2000 after becoming dissatisfied with manager Joe Royle for selecting him as a substitute too frequently; he had only played the full 90 minutes in three of his 11 games for the Maine Road club. At City he scored once in the league against Liverpool (as he did at Chelsea), and three times against Gillingham (again as he had at Chelsea), this time in the League Cup; once in the first leg and twice in the second.
Weah had spells at Marseille and Al-Jazira before retiring in 2003, aged 37.
Weah played 60 games for Liberia over 20 years, scoring 22 goals. He has been the team's star player, a coach and to a large extent, funded the team.
Weah was a real surprise. I have never seen any player explode on to the scene like he did. (Arsène Wenger)