George Weah is number 43 in 90min's Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time series.
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.
Happy 52nd birthday to the President of Liberia, George Weah:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 1, 2018
1995 Ballon d'Or
1995 FIFA Player of the Year
The first and only African winner. pic.twitter.com/QB6mSFNRCe
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Whether it was in France or Italy, Weah was the best around. That was the general consensus. And they were sentiments echoed by
12 January 2000: Ballon d'Or winner, George Weah signed for Chelsea and made an instant impact with this goal v Spurs on the same day! pic.twitter.com/HOmGxX1BAx— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 12, 2019
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