George Weah is number 43 in 90min's Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time series.


To date there is only one African footballer to have won football's greatest individual prize, the Ballon d'Or: George Weah.


Plucked from obscurity by a certain Arsene Wenger, the career that would follow for Liberia's greatest ever player was a romantic rise from west African poverty into superstardom, and a goal-laden career that would garner him a reputation as one of the most naturally gifted players the continent ever produced.

By 90min's rankings, he is the best Africa has ever produced. That is largely down to an immense three/four year spell playing in France and Italy in which he was probably the best footballer in the world.


Prior those years, he arrived in southern France as a largely unknown quantity. Scouted by Wenger in the late 80's, he was given the opportunity to prove his mettle in Ligue 1 with Monaco; an opportunity he didn't waste.


His first season produced 17 goals in 38 outings, ripping opposing sides to shreds with pace, trickery and technical talent. Unlike the more traditional central strikers at the time, Weah loved to drop deep and run at defences - in a similar vein to how Ronaldo would play shortly after him - using trickery and pace to pull defenders out of position.

Arsene Wenger

Possessing every trait you could desire in a forward, he took Ligue 1 by storm. A Coupe de France crown in 1991 would be just rewards for his contribution to Monaco, in turn catching the gaze of Paris Saint-Germain just one year later.


His prolificacy didn't wane, and the move to the capital brought with it greater riches and appreciation from across Europe. 23 goals in his debut campaign followed on from the same figure the season prior, but it was his ability to score every type of goal which endeared him to supporters.


​Adjustment wasn't needed for Weah. Disregarding the time needed to learn new styles, setups and systems, raw natural ability would see him excel regardless. Possessing a large frame with speed to boot, he terrorised backlines the season after, finally securing the Ligue 1 title for his side.


In this modern age it's very easy to get caught up with stats. Having the likes of ​Cristiano Ronaldo and ​Lionel Messi bless the game with otherworldly scoring rates and [insert number] amounts of hat-tricks, it's far too simple to overlook a player's all-round ability in favour of record-breaking statistics.

SPO-SOCCER-LEAGUE-RUSSIA-FRANCE

The 1994/95 season was Weah at his peak. Noticing that he only scored seven league goals for PSG in his final season doesn't tell the story. Knowing that he was unplayable in the ​Champions League that season, however, does go some way.


He was also the top scorer in the competition that season, netting one of the greatest goals the Champions League has ever seen against ​Bayern Munich at the Olympiastadion.


While the goal in itself is special, what it does adequately portray is every element of Weah's talent in just over six seconds.


He was frighteningly skilful with the ball at his feat. Able to send a player packing with whirlwind technical ability, barge a player to the floor with his immense physical strength, while equally using his body as another tool with feints and drops of the shoulder aplenty; he had the lot.


Able to run at pace with and without a ball, he could find - or make - space with consummate ease and, above all, could leather a ball with so forcefully and with such fierce accuracy.

His seven Champions League goals that term weren't enough to see PSG beyond the semi-finals, but another Coupe de France title and a maiden Coupe de la Ligue followed.


That prompted a move to the side who had dominated Europe and Italy during that period in ​AC Milan. 1995 was his year, and a summer move to ​Serie A was proof of this.


11 goals in 26 league outings proved his talent, and he would go on to earn legendary status in Milan, forging a formidable frontline with Roberto Baggio and Dejan Savićević - as well as lifting the league title in his debut campaign.


Whether it was in France or Italy, Weah was the best around. That was the general consensus. And they were sentiments echoed by sports writers from all over Europe. 


He really was the best player in the world at the time. His Ballon d'Or proves it.


Furthermore, he scooped the FIFA World Player of the Year award - as voted by the managers and captains of international teams - therefore clearly demonstrating this was no fluke. He was King George.

His career extended for another five seasons, claiming a further Serie A title and an FA Cup with ​Chelsea, but he never quite reached those heights again. Weah was nevertheless a formidable striker, however, it was his peak years at PSG and Milan that will always be remembered as some of the finest years African football has ever seen.


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90min's 'Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time' can be found here


Number 50: Luka Modric

Number 49: John Charles

Number 48: Hugo Sanchez

Number 47: Jairzinho

Number 46: Omar Sivori

Number 45: Paolo Rossi

Number 44: Paul Breitner