Even though Africans took a while to start playing for clubs in Italy, the first being only in 1980, they have conquered their place inside the country and many of them had special roles in their teams. Do not forget that free betting tips can help you a lot in further predictions.
Today, let’s take a look at the 4 greatest African footballers in the Italian League.
Before being an aggressive midfielder who sometimes abuses fouls, the Ghanaian built a solid and winning career in Serie A. Graduated from his country’s Liberty Professionals, he almost moved to Manchester United when he served as left-back, but ended up at Udinese, an excellent talent prospect.
He was launched to the main team by Luciano Spalletti, in 2002, and had three great seasons for the zebrette, being a key player in the team’s midfield, who qualified twice in the UEFA Cup and once in the Champions League. After the coach left, Muntari remained regular, being a pillar of the team, offering combativeness and technique on the left side of the midfield, until he was sold to Portsmouth.
After a year in England, with José Mourinho’s arrival at Inter, he went back to Italy. Muntari was one of the main players and, in his debut, scored a goal against Roma, in the Italian Super Cup won by the nerazzurri. The Ghanaian made a great Serie A as a starter and scored four goals, including goals against Juventus, Napoli and Lazio.
Benatia is the only defender on the list. The Moroccan arrived in Italy via Udinese. Benatia was trained by Olympique Marseille, but never found space at OM, and went to Udine after two years at little Clermont.
In his debut year, he showed the skills that only those who followed the Ligue 2 knew: very strong in aerial plays, both defensive and offensive, a lot of aggression to regain possession of the ball and a great sense of anticipation. He excelled in two consecutive Udinese qualifications to the Champions League.
After a 2012-13 in which he experienced physical problems, Benatia ended up transferring to Rome. There he became one of the best defenses in all of Europe. Even stronger than in previous years, Benatia was the main name of Roma, participating in almost all games of the giallorossa campaign. He also showed his offensive streak by scoring five goals in the championship. The performances put him in the sights of European giants and the Moroccan ended up leaving Rome just a year after being hired.
One of the biggest and most lethal strikers of the last few decades would certainly be among the top Africans playing in Italy – in fact, he was practically in a technical draw with the first place. Eto’o is the only player to have won the Triple Crown twice, is the record holder for African Player of the Year titles (won four) and the top scorer for the Cameroon national team.
His speed, perspicacity, skill and power of shooting with both legs got him there. Incredibly, the Lion King was hired by Inter in 2009, in a negotiation that involved Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s move to Barcelona. Being a bargaining chip was very little considering how much Eto’o had already achieved in both clubs and national teams, for Mallorca, Barcelona and Cameroon. At Inter, he showed that it was really little and that, even at the height of his career, he could reinvent himself and, at the same time, continue scoring.
In the first of his two years in Milan, Eto’o was coached by Mourinho and, with the presence of Diego Milito, he stopped being the reference in the attack to play as a winger. There, he helped in the defense and added a touch of genius to the attack, alongside Milito and Wesley Sneijder.
In the Triple Crown season, there were 16 goals in 48 games, the most important of them in the round of 16, against Chelsea, inside the Stamford Bridge.
The Liberian striker is one of the greatest African players in history with Eto’o. And the only thing that makes him better than the Cameroonian is that he is, to this day, the only player on his continent to have won either the Golden Ball from France Football magazine or the FIFA Best Player in the World award. The two awards were given to Weah in 1995, when he was already at AC Milan and had one of his great seasons.
Weah was a typical African striker: fast, skilled, strong, daring and a good finisher – even in aerial balls. The Liberian, who arrived at Milan at the age of 30, was not as much of a scorer as Eto’o in his stint in Milan, but he stood out for creating many spaces and destabilizing defenses for his teammates to take advantage and also score. He also stood out for scoring against Juventus, his favorite victim.
In the first year at San Siro, with the responsibility of replacing Ruud Gullit, he teamed up with Roberto Baggio and scored 11 goals. For the next two years, Milan felt Capello’s departure and went through a low period, but Weah kept the goal average. Weah still spent another season and a half in Milan, won a scudetto in Milan’s centenary year and headed to England in January 2000, ending his spell in Italy with 147 games and 58 goals for Diavolo.
These Africans had important roles at the Italian League, having amazing performances with their clubs, and also made history in the African continent with their National Teams.