Famous Black Football Players in History

Sun 11 April 2021 | 13:30

Black players have had important roles in the football’s history, showing amazing skills and being the main players of some of the biggest clubs in the world and also winning important titles with their National Teams. Read on to find out more about the famous black football players in history.

Football is arguably the most popular sport in a variety of regions all over the world. Many children begin playing football at a very young age regardless of their skin color, or the place they have been born in. It does not matter whether a person is African, European, or Asian.

Neither does their appearance or the color of their skin. The passion for this sport exists everywhere, in every cell of the bodies of football lovers. Throughout the history of the sport, there have been a huge number of football players that were considered the best footballers of their generation, and some have remained in the minds of football fans as the greatest players in history.

These players have NOT been from a specific country or region, but from different countries and continents. Some of them have been European, some come from South America, many from Asia, some have been black, some were white, many have been short or tall and the list of differences continues.

Famous Black Football Players in History:

In this article, we have chosen the players with dark skin color to talk about. In the following, a list of the best black footballers ever is provided, alongside a brief review of their career.


  • Full name: Edson Arantes do Nascimento

  • Date of birth: 23 October 1940 (age 81)

  • Place of birth: Três Corações, Minas Gerais, Brazil

  • Height: 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)

  • Position(s): Forward, Attacking midfielder

  • Clubs: Santos, New York Cosmos

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, who is most commonly known as "Pele", is regarded as one of the greatest players in history. Moreover, in many people's opinion, he is "The" best football player that has ever existed on the planet.

Pele was one of the most iconic and successful sportsmen of 20th century, and he is the most deserved player to be in the list of

famous black football players in history


The most remarkable record of his is that he is the only player who has won 3 World Cups, by winning the title in 1958, 1962, and 1970. Moreover, Pele is currently the leading top scorer of

Brazilian national team

by scoring 77 goals within 92 appearances for Selecao.

Pele spent the majority of his professional career with the Brazilian club,


, and became their all-time top scorer with the amazing number of 643 goals in 659 matches. Furthermore, he led the club to win the Copa Libertadores twice in 1962 and 1963, as well as a number of other titles, in the Golden era of the club.

The legendary striker has scored an approximate of 1 goal per match in his career, and with 1283 goals (including the ones scored in friendly matches), Pele is arguably the highest goal scorer in history.

By appearing in 1958 FIFA World Cup at the age of 18, Pele became the first black footballer player that came into prominence worldwide and became a great inspiration for the players to emerge years after him. Pele scored 4 goals for Santos in his debut for the club at the age of 15.

Additionally, he was named World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football & Statistics in 1999, and was voted FIFA Player of the Century alongside Diego Maradona. Moreover, Pele was also named Athlete of the 20th Century by International Olympic Committee.

Regarded as one of the best players of all time and one of the

famous black soccer players of all time

, alongside his prowess in scoring goals with his both feet and head, Pele had outstanding ability in dribbling, passing, and vision. Thus he was a prolific assist provider as well.

Samuel Eto'o

  • Full name: Samuel Eto'o Fils

  • Date of birth: 10 March 1981 (age 40)

  • Place of birth: Douala, Cameroon

  • Height: 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)

  • Position(s): Striker

  • Clubs: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Qatar SC

Samuel Eto'o Fils, born 10 March 1981, is a Cameroonian retired professional footballer who played as a striker.

The Cameroonian legend is undoubtedly one of the most famous black football players in history. In his prime he was considered as one of the best strikers in the world, and he is commonly known as one of the best African footballers of all time.

Eto'o holds the bright record of winning the African Player of the Year award by achieving the feat on 4 occasions (in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2010).

He is the only player in history who has won 2 European trebles (winning the domestic league, domestic cup, and the Champions League in a single season) with 2 different teams, having achieved the feat with


in 2009 and with Inter the following season.

Eto'o has played for numerous European Clubs, but his career is mainly remembered for his spells with Barcelona and Inter Milan. The list of some other clubs in which he has played in include

Real Madrid





, etc.

With Barcelona, Eto'o achieved 8 major titles, including 2 UEFA Champions League titles in 2006 and 2009, with him scoring in the final matches both tournaments. Moreover, he won 3


titles, 1 Spanish Cup, as well as 2 Spanish Super Cups.

Furthermore, Eto'o finished 2005/6 LaLiga season as the top scorer with 26 goals. In addition, the Cameroonian idol is the most-capped African player in the history of LaLiga.

In 2009, after being a part of Barcelona's best squad of all time that managed to win all of the 6 titles that can possibly be achieved in 1 year, Eto'o was sold to

Inter Milan

, where he helped Azzurri to the conquest of the European treble in 2009/10 season, making himself the only player to have won it for 2 consecutive years with 2 different clubs.

Moreover, he won another Italian Cup (Coppa Italia), 1 FIFA Clubs World Cup, and 1 Italian Super Cup with Inter within his 2-year spell at Giuseppe Meazza.

He has had an exhilarating career on individual level as well as team level. Eto'o was named the Young African Player of the year in 2000, was listed in FIFA FIFPro World XI and UEFA Team of the Year and in 2005 and 2006, and was named in CAF (Confederations of African Football) Team of the year on 6 occasions.

Furthermore, he has been crowned African Cup of Nations top scorer twice, although he never managed to win the title with his national team. By mentioning some of this legend's achievements, it seems fair to say that Samuel Eto'o is unquestionably one of the

best black football players in history


Didier Drogba

  • Full name: Didier Yves Drogba Tébily

  • Date of birth: 11 March 1978 (age 43)

  • Place of birth: Abidjan, Ivory Coast

  • Height: 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)

  • Position(s): Striker

  • Clubs: Le Mans, Chelsea, Phoenix Rising, Ivory Coast

Didier Drogba, born 11 March 1978, is an Ivorian retired professional footballer who played as a striker. The Ivorian man is indubitably one of the most

famous black football players in history

, and one of the greatest one of them.

He is mostly renowned for his time at Chelsea, where he has a special place in the list of the club's all-time greatest players by helping them to the conquest of lots of prestigious awards.

He is also Chelsea's leading foreign top scorer in history with 164 goals in 381 appearances, and stands 4th in the list of Chelsea all-time top scorers. Drogba's first spell at Stamford Bridge started in 2004 and continued until 2012.

He played one of the most pivotal roles in winning 3

Premier League

titles, 4 English FA Cups, 4 English Super Cups, 2 English League Cups, and the one and only Champions League title in Chelsea history that was achieved in 2012.

After spending half of a season with the Chinese club

Shanghai Shenhua

and 1 season and a half with


, where he achieved 3 major domestic trophies, Drogba returned to Chelsea at the start of 2014/15 season, mainly because Jose Mourinho had become their manager once again.

They won the Premier League, as well as the English League Cup that season, adding honor to Drogba's bright career. He played for the clubs

Montreal Impact


Phoenix Rising

before he announced his retirement in 2018.

Moreover, the Ivorian legend has had a successful career on personal stage as well as team level. Drogba has been crowned the Premier League's top scorer on 2 occasions- in seasons 2006/7 and 2009/10. Furthermore, he has been named the African Footballer of the Year twice in 2006 and 2009.

His astonishing performances in 2006/7 season earned him a place in FIFA World XI of 2007. Drogba is his national team's all-time greatest scorer by scoring 65 goals in 105 matches. He has represented

Ivory Coast national team

in 3 World Cups, and was a key player in Ivory Coast's qualification for the 2006 World Cup for the first time in their history.

He has also been named in CAF Team of the Year 5 times, and won the Golden Foot award in 2013, an award which is annually given to players over the age of 28 because of their personality and athletic performances. In addition, he was named in PFA Premier League Team of the Year in 2006/7 and 2009/10.

In the final match of 2012 Champions League against

Bayern Munich

, Drogba was named Man of the Match, he had scored the 88th-minute equalizer which took the game to the extra times, and the last penalty in the penalty shout-outs and brought Chelsea fans the most glorious trophy they had ever achieved.

Regarded as one of the

best black soccer players ever

, beside from his inside-of-the-pitch performances, Drogba is a national hero in his country for playing the key role in bringing peace to Ivory Coast after some civil disputes. In 2018, he became the Vice President of the international organization Peace and Sport.

George Weah

  • Full name: George Manneh Oppong Weah

  • Date of birth: 1 October 1966 (age 55)

  • Place of birth: Monrovia, Liberia

  • Height: 1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)

  • Position(s): Striker

  • Clubs: Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain, Milan, Manchester City, Al Jazira

George Manneh Oppong Weah, born 1 October 1966, is a Liberian politician and former professional footballer who is currently serving as the 25th President of Liberia, in office since 2018.

Weah is one of the greatest African players of all time, and is regarded as one of the famous black football players in history.

The Liberian man played as a striker and spent an exhilarating career in Europe with different teams in France, Italy, and England. Weah is the only African player who has ever won the Ballon d'Or, and FIFA Best Men's Player award, by achieving the awards in 1995.

Regarded as one of the

best black footballers ever

, Weah was first brought to Europe by Arsene Wenger in 1988, who was Monaco's coach at the time. With him added to the squad, Monaco won the French Cup in 1990/91. Weah made a move to

Paris Saint-Germain

in 1992, where he stayed for 3 years, and won a League 1 title, 2 French Cups and finished 1994/95 Champions League as the top scorer, which was a key factor in him being named the best player of the year in 1995 by FIFA and winning the Ballon d'Or.

George Weah moved to AC Milan at the end of the season, stayed at San Siro for 4 years and helped them to the conquest of 2 Serie A titles. He later played for Chelsea, where he won an FA Cup, and

Manchester City

in England before returning to France to play for


. The last club of his career was Al Jazira where he hung his boots in 2003.

Commonly known as one of the

top black football players of all time

, Weah is the only African player who has won the Ballon D'Or. Furthermore, he has been named the African Footballer of the year on 3 occasions in 1989, 1994, and 1995. In addition, Weah was voted the African Player of the Century in 1996.

Weah was widely renowned for his astounding pace, his ability in dribbling opponents and his extraordinary finishing capabilities. Furthermore, he is regarded as one of the best players who have never played in World Cup.

After retiring from professional football, Weah surprisingly entered politics, and eventually became the President of Liberia in the 2017 election.

Yaya Toure

  • Full name: Gnégnéri Yaya Touré

  • Date of birth: 13 May 1983 (age 38)

  • Place of birth: Bouaké, Ivory Coast

  • Height: 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)

  • Position(s): Midfielder

  • Clubs: Beveren, Olympiacos, Monaco, Barcelona, Manchester City, Olimpik Donetsk

Yaya Touré, born 13 May 1983, is an Ivorian retired professional footballer who played as a midfielder and last played for Chinese Super League club

Qingdao Huanghai


Toure is widely regarded as one of the best midfielders in recent years, one of the best African players ever, and one of the best black football players in history. The tall, vigorous Ivorian man's career is mainly remembered for his spells at Barcelona and Manchester City, the teams with which he achieved lots of titles.

Toure joined Barcelona in 2007, and stayed there for 3 seasons. The seasons were among the golden years of Blaugrana, especially 2008/9 season, when Barcelona won the European Treble, and achieved 6 major trophies in 1 calendar year.

In total, Toure won 2 LaLiga titles, 1 Spanish Cup, 1 Spanish Super Cup, 1 UEFA Super Cup, 1 FIFA Clubs World Cup, and most remarkably, 1 UEFA Champions League with Barcelona. He played in 118 matches for Barcelona and his great performances will be remembered by Barca fans.

Toure made a move to Manchester City in 2010 to start his 8-year and luminous spell with the Citizens. He reached the pinnacle of his career while playing for the English Club, and became their captain. With Toure added to the squad, Manchester City won 3 Premier League titles, 1 English FA Cup, 3 English League Cups, and 1 English Super Cup.

The championship of 2011/12 Premier league was Manchester City's first league triumph in 44 years and Toure was a pivotal part of the squad that season.  Toure made 316 appearances for the club, scored 79 goals and provided 50 assists with Citizens' shirt, which is an astonishing record for a box-to-box midfielder.

Regarded as one of the most famous black soccer players of all time, Toure has played in 101 games for Ivory Coast national team, and has scored 19 goals. He has represented his country in 3 World Cups, including 2006 World Cup which was the first time Ivorian national team had reached the group stages. Moreover, he captained his national team in winning the 2015 African Cup of Nations.

On personal level, Yaya toure has been a decorated player only as he is on team level. In 2013/14 season when Manchester City won the Premier League, Toure scored 20 goals and became the second midfielder in the history of the league to have done so after Frank Lampard.

Furthermore, Yaya Toure was named the African Player of the Year for 4 consecutive years from 2011 to 2014 that co-occurred with his breath taking performances for Manchester City. Furthermore, he has been named in Confederations of African Football Team of the Year on 7 occasions, and PFA Premier League Team of the Season twice.

In addition, he was named Manchester City's Player of the 2013/14 Season, and was included in FIFA FIFPro World XI second team 3 times. Additionally, he was named in IFFHS CAF Men's Team of the Decade. He is deservedly one of the most

famous black football players in history



  • Full name: Eusébio da Silva Ferreira

  • Date of birth: 25 January 1942

  • Place of birth: Lourenço Marques, Portuguese Mozambique

  • Date of death: 5 January 2014 (aged 71)

  • Place of death: Lisbon, Portugal

  • Height: 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)

  • Position(s): Striker

  • Clubs: Sporting Lourenço Marques, Benfica, Buffalo Stallions

Eusébio da Silva Ferreira GCIH GCM (25 January 1942 – 5 January 2014) was a Mozambican-born Portuguese footballer who played as a striker.

Eusebio was a Mozambican-born Portuguese legendary player that is widely regarded as one of the best Portuguese footballers of all time, and one of the best black soccer players ever. He is by many even considered as one of the greatest players of all time. Due to the color of his skin, Eusebio was nicknamed "Black Panther" and "Black Pearl".

He was a prolific and talented goal scorer. By scoring 733 goals in 745 appearances in his career, he is regarded as one of the best goal scorers in the history of the sport. Moreover, Eusebio was the first player to have ever won the European Golden Boot by winning it in 1968, and repeating the achievement 4 years later.

His career is primarily remembered for his time at

S.L Benfica

, where he is regarded as their best ever player, and hold the record of being their all-time top scorer with 473 goals in 440 matches. With Benfica, Eusebio achieved 11 Primeira Liga titles, 5 Portuguese Cups, and the European Cup in 1961/62. He also helped the team reach 3 further European Cup finals, but could never win it again.

Furthermore, Eusebio has featured in 64 games for Portuguese national team, and has scored 41 goals for the European Selecao. He helped them finish the 1966 World Cup in the 3rd place by scoring 9 goals in the tournament and winning the Golden Boot of the cup.

Regarded as one of the greatest players ever and one  of the most famous black football players in history, Black Panther has had a bright career in terms of personal records in addition to his team achievements. Eusebio was the winner of 1965 Ballon d'Or, and was runner-up in 1962 and 1966.

He won the Bronze Ball of 1966 World Cup in addition to its Golden Boot. Furthermore, he holds the glittering record being crowned Primeira Liga's top scorer the most times, by achieving the feat on 7 occasions. In addition, he was European Cup's top scorer 3 times, in 1964/5, 1965/66, and 1967/68.

He is revered by fans and was labeled "the first great African player". Eusebio was renowned for his excellent pace and astounding technique. He had a powerful right foot with which he shot the ball breathtakingly. He is deservedly one of the top black football players of all time.




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