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Top facts about Roger Milla, the Old Lion

Wed 08 September 2021 | 16:30

Roger Milla became one of the very first African footballers to receive the Oldest Goalscorer Award. At 42, the forward scored against Russia in US 1994 World Cup to become the oldest scorer in the history of the competition. Read on to find out more facts about Roger Milla, the Cameroon legend.

Albert Roger Miller, Known as Roger Milla, is a Cameroonian retired football player who played as a striker. He was born on May 20, 1952 and began his career at Dynamo Beervelde's renowned academy. He was among the first African players to achieve worldwide prominence.

He was a member of the Cameroon national team for three World Cups.

Roger Milla’s age

is 69. Here you can read about the most important facts about Roger Milla, the legendary African player.

Milla surpassed his own record as the oldest goal scorer in a World Cup four years later, when he scored against

Russia

in the 1994 FIFA World Cup at the age of 42.

Milla is also known for his signature goal celebration, which included sprinting to the corner flag and doing a dance.

In the years afterwards, he's been credited with inventing many of the more unusual and creative goal celebrations that have become popular. Pelé nominated him to the FIFA 100 list of the world's best living players in 2004. Milla was voted the greatest African footballer of the past 50 years by the Confederation of African Football in 2007.

Top facts about Roger Milla:

The first

fact about Roger Milla

is that he became a worldwide superstar at the age of 38, when most strikers had retired, by netting four goals in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, making him the oldest goal scorer in World Cup history.

Cameroon

became the first African side to enter the World Cup quarterfinals thanks to his efforts.

Roger Milla early life

Speaking about

Roger Milla’s parents

, his father served for the railroads in his early years, and the family relocated to Douala when he was eleven years old. Regarding Roger Milla’s childhood, it should be mentioned that as a child, he was forced to travel about a lot.

Milla's father worked for the railways, thus their family had to relocate often throughout

Roger Milla's childhood

, but football was always a part of his life. As a child, he was given the nickname "Pele" after the famous Brazilian player.

At the age of 13, he joined his first club. Milla's potential as a football kid prodigy was obvious from an early age. At the age of 13, he joined with a local Douala team, and at the age of 18, he won his first league title with another Douala club.

Roger Milla personal life

Inspecting

Roger Milla's personal life

, he is a husband and father. On July 20, 2007, he married his lovely fiancée, Astrid Stephanie Ondobo, in a Roman Catholic wedding.

Evelyne, his first wife, died in a terrible traffic accident in Cameroon in January 2004. He married Evelyne in 1984. He and his wife are in a loving relationship and are enjoying a happy life together.

After the event, the former player was heartbroken, and in a 2017 interview with ABK TV, he revealed some details about how his life had changed as a result of the loss. “Every time I reflect on my history, I realize I lost a wife, a wonderful lady. We can't change God's decision,” Milla said.

He went on to say that after losing his wife in a car accident, he wanted to set up a foundation to help victims of car accidents, but his friends warned him that it would be too difficult; “with all the accidents that we have on our roads, I couldn't figure out how to make it really meet expectations,” he said. “We attempted to change the organization, and ‘Coeur d'Afrique et Solidarité' was born.”

Roger Milla professional career

Roger Milla first made his name in football with youth club Eclair de Douala and then turned professional with his first senior club, Leopard Douala, in the early 1970s.

In 2004, Milla was named on the list of the 125 greatest living footballers selected by Brazilian great

Pelé

, while in 2007 CAF named him the best African player from the past 50 years.

Roger Milla club career

A notable

fact about Roger Milla

is that at the age of 15, he earned his Cameroonian second tier start with Eclair de Douala. He won the National schools high jump champion 2 years later, at the age of 17. He subsequently went on to play for Léopard Douala and Tonnerre Yaoundé.

Valenciennes and AS Monaco

The French team Valenciennes enticed him to Europe in 1977. Over the course of two campaigns, he scored six goals in 28 league matches. He signed AS Monaco in 1979 and scored twice in 17 league appearances in a single season.

Bastia and Saint-Etienne and retirement

He joined Bastia the next year, scoring 35 goals in 113 league games for the main squad. In 1984, he went to

Saint-Etienne

, where he scored 31 goals in 59 league appearances. After retiring from French football, he went on to play for Montpellier from 1986 to 1989, where he subsequently became a member of the club's coaching staff.

Years after retirements and playing again

An important fact about Roger Milla is that he went to Réunion in the Indian Ocean after leaving France in 1987, where he played for JS Saint-Pierroise. After that, he spent four seasons at Tonnerre, Cameroon. From the end of the 1994 World Cup until the end of 1996, he played for two clubs in Indonesia.

Roger Milla international career

A notable fact about Roger Milla is that he was a member of the national squad for 77 appearances, scoring 43 goals. Milla made his Cameroon debut in a World Cup qualification against Zaire in 1973.

He was a part of Cameroon's World Cup squad in 1982, when he had a goal denied versus Peru in their first game. Cameroon finished the first round with three draws out of three games. Cameroon's Indomitable Lions made their debut in the 1982 World Cup in Spain, marking the team's first international participation.

Cameroon's squad was undefeated in their maiden World Cup appearance. Despite leaving in the first round, Milla was a crucial player for the Lions, helping them hold their own and stay undefeated.

A notable fact about Roger Milla is that he was a member of the team that competed at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, 2 years later.

Milla marked his departure from international football with a jubilee in Cameroon in 1988, when he was 36 years old.

In 1990, however, he got a phone call from Cameroon's President, Paul Biya, pleading with him to come out of retirement and join the national squad. He accepted and traveled to Italy with the Indomitable Lions for the 1990 World Cup, where he made a splash.

Milla, who was 38 years old, had emerged as a key player in the competition. In Italy, he netted four goals, each of which he celebrated with a dance all around corner flag, which has since become a famous goal reaction.

An important fact about Roger Milla is that two of his goals came versus Romania in Cameroon's second match, and two more came in extra time versus Colombia in the last 16 to propel Cameroon to the quarter-finals, the furthest an African team had ever progressed in the World Cup (

Senegal

matched this feat in 2002, as did Ghana in 2010).

Milla reinforced his super-sub reputation in the quarter-final match against

England

, coming on in the second half with Cameroon down 1–0, winning a penalty, and then setting up a goal for Ekeke to give Cameroon a 2–1 lead before England scored two penalties to win 3–2 after extra time. He was awarded African Footballer of the Year for the second time after his performance in Italy.

The Coca-Cola commercial for the 2010 World Cup included his second goal celebration against Colombia.

A notable fact about Roger Milla is that he went to the 1994 FIFA World Cup at the age of 42, becoming the oldest player ever to participate in a World Cup until Colombia's Faryd Mondragón established a new record by entering a group stage match against

Japan

at the age of 43 years and 3 days.

Mondragon's record was surpassed in 2018 by Essam El Hadary. Cameroon was eliminated in the group stages, although Milla scored a goal against Russia, surpassing his own record as the oldest goalscorer in a World Cup competition established in 1990. In December 1994, he made his last international appearance in a friendly against South Africa.

Roger Milla quotes and interviews

Cameroon's Roger Milla had only a minute to join the records of soccer history when he came on versus Russia in his side's last group encounter at the 1994 FIFA World Cup USATM, contested at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto on Tuesday 28 June. When asked about his feeling is that moment, he said:

“I was feeling overjoyed, as shown by my jubilation, despite the fact that we lost the match. It's something I'm still extremely proud of now. That objective and record, in my opinion, demonstrated to those who questioned me that, despite my age, I still had it in me. I wasn't 100% physically, but I still had my technique. It's a beautiful record.”

Cameroon's French coach, Henri Michel, opted to put in his experienced striker after the Africans fell down 3-0 at halftime to an Oleg Salenko hat-trick (a record that has since been broken, first by Colombia's Faryd Mondragon in Brazil 2014 and subsequently by Egypt's Essam El Hadary in Russia 2018).

Despite holding one of the greatest records of football history, he doesn’t think that this record is the biggest accomplishment he had achieved during his time, “No, I don't believe so. It's a great personal accomplishment, but nothing has given me greater pleasure than helping Cameroon reach the World Cup quarterfinals in 1990. That was a watershed moment for our nation and continent.”

He continues: “When I go onto the pitch, I don't worry about individual performances at all, and much less so before a tournament. It never occurred to me to try to break that record. If I score and we lose, I'm just as upset as the rest of my teammates. We all aspired to perform even better than we had in 1990, but we were unable to accomplish so.”

“It was a mixed bag of emotions since we were knocked out and upset that we hadn't met people's expectations. I was also aware that this was my last World Cup match and that I would be leaving the tournament.

So, I tried to put things in perspective and make the most of every opportunity. I didn't think much about the record at the time since the goal had such a little effect on the game. But as the years have passed, it has come to represent a lot more to me, and I'm extremely proud of it.”

He has said about the best records of all time: “Every record has its own backstory. I couldn't put one in front of the other. Every single one of those players has left their imprint on the World Cup in some manner.

I can clearly connect with the goalscoring records of [Miroslav] Klose and Just Fontaine as a striker, but I couldn't rate them. My past record is one of many. The only milestone that really jumps out to me is that of 'O Rei' Pele's three World Cup victories. What he accomplished at such a young age beyond description.”

He said about breaking his records, “Nothing is impossible, but defeating it will be very tough. Today's football is a completely different game, and it's difficult to see anybody other than a goalkeeper earning a cap at the age of 42. Keepers, as we all know, don't score very frequently. My record, I believe, still has a few solid years remaining in it.”

That day, Oleg Salenko set a new record with five goals, which he currently maintains. Roger Millas remembers the player, “With a performance like that, particularly at a World Cup, you can't help but be pleased, but I must admit that we had a role in it. In that contest, we weren't good enough. That day, we both broke records, which is why we had our picture taken together at the conclusion of the game.”

He even once mentioned that he could set the bars higher and hold a better record: “When I look back, I try to concentrate on the good aspects of the situation, which is the record. I still have some regrets since it was my last World Cup and I would have wanted to go farther and go on a higher note.”

About Cameroon making history by becoming the first African team to reach the World Cup quarterfinals, he once said: “You couldn't put it into words. Obviously, there was a lot of happiness. We were overjoyed, and it gave us a huge boost in confidence.

We wished we could have gone farther since we had the ability to do more. I don't want to get into a discussion over the England match, but there are a few things I regret now. I believe we could have made it all the way. When we returned to Cameroon, we were greeted like heroes, and that's when you realize you've accomplished something significant.”

“Senegal and Ghana demonstrated that it could be done. We're still a long way behind in European football, so getting there will be tough, but I'm hopeful. I get the impression that, like us, the current generation of players struggles with confidence and drive at times. If we want to put in those sorts of performances in every World Cup, we have to believe in ourselves.”

Lots of people compare him and Eto’, but Roger himself doesn’t think he is a better or worse player than his compatriot: “I have no idea. At the time, there isn't anybody who sticks out. It may be preferable this way since it allows us to concentrate only on the team.

Right now, I don't see anybody who has my characteristics. Samuel Eto'o also accomplished a lot. We're one-of-a-kind players with no one else like us. We can only hope that Cameroon will flourish in the future.”

Africa is now shining in the football globe thanks to

Sadio Mane

, Mohamed Salah,

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

, and Riyad Mahrez. Roger Milla thinks that there is still gap between African and European players, “Individually, the gap between African players and players from Europe and South America is narrowing all the time in terms of ability. I believe we must continue to grow as a squad, and individuals like Mane and Salah may contribute their knowledge in this regard.”

He continues: “They play for major teams and know how to pull a group of people together to achieve a same goal. There will be no difference between us and them in a few years. Learning from our errors and cooperating with one another are two things that will enable us to go even farther.”

Roger Milla legacy

Roger Milla, a Cameroonian sportsman who played in 3 World Cups, is one of the first Africans to reach international soccer fame and is one of the best African players of all time.

Milla was voted the greatest African player of the past 50 years by the Confederation of African Football after scoring four goals in the 1990 FIFA World Cup at the age of 38.

Milla started his soccer journey in Cameroon, where he played for teams such as Leopards Douala and Tonnerre Yaounde. Milla went on to play at the highest level in France after winning many honors. He played for Valenciennes,

Monaco

, Bastia, Saint-Etienne, and Montpellier as a high-scoring striker.

He also scored a goal in the 1981 French Cup final with Bastia, in addition to his 1980 French Cup with Monaco. Milla played the latter part of his career with Indonesian Liga 1 teams.

Milla's first appearances for Cameroon were in the 1982 World Cup and the 1984 Summer Olympics, and he went on to become a legend of international football. When he came out of retirement for the 1990 World Cup in Italy, though, his career soared to new heights.

Throughout the game, he scored four goals and followed up with a famous dancing around the corner flag. He led his squad to the quarterfinals, the farthest a team from Africa has ever progressed. Milla was named African Player of the Year for the second time, a significant distinction he has earned. At the age of 42, he returned to the 1994 World Cup and scored a goal against Russia, becoming the oldest goalscorer in a World Cup competition.

Milla is generally regarded as one of the greatest African players in football history, having been selected to Pele's FIFA 100. He is currently an advocate for many African causes and was the manager of his old team Tonnerre for several years. Roger Milla is an international football legend who will be remembered for decades.

Milla was awarded African Footballer of the Year in 1974 for his achievements with the Cameroonian club Tonnerre Yaoundé. Milla then moved to France, where he initially played for Valenciennes before moving on to AS Monaco, Bastia, Saint-Étienne, and Montpellier.

Some quick facts about Roger Milla

An important

fact about Roger Milla

is that he was a member of a local football squad in the Reunion Islands before the 1990 World Cup. Milla traveled to the Reunion Islands for nine months after declaring his retirement from professional football in 1988 (complete with unforgettable tributes in front of over 100,000 fans).

Milla started playing for a small football club owned by a friend until Cameroonian President Paul Biya demanded that he return to the national squad for the 1990 World Cup.

A notable fact about Roger Milla is that his first and most serious offer came from Walsall, a Division Four club, after his amazing performance in the 1990 World Cup.

Milla had an amazing World Cup performance, leading his side to the quarterfinals for the first time in African history, but due to his old age, few clubs made offers to the Cameroonian. Walsall were unable to meet the $1 million asking price for Milla, and he went on to play for Tonnerre Yaounde in Cameroon.

Milla's famous goal-post dance was entirely spontaneous. Milla said in an interview that his characteristic goal celebration occurred to him spontaneously, saying, "It came to me in the moment, in the stadium when I scored that first goal" (against

Romania

). It had been instinctive. I couldn't plan anything before the tournament since I didn't know whether the coach would choose me to participate or if I'd be able to score a goal.”

Milla is still the oldest player to score in a World Cup match. At the age of 42, Milla scored a consolation goal against Russia in Cameroon's 6-1 World Cup loss to Germany in 1994.

The game is known more for Oleg Salenko of the Russian team, who became the first individual to score five goals in a World Cup finals match. When 43-year-old striker Kersley Appou played for Mauritius in the 2014 Africa Cup of Nations, he surpassed him as Africa's oldest international player.

An important fact about Roger Milla is that he won the award for greatest African player of the past 50 years in 2007. Milla was voted Best African Player of the Past 50 Years in a poll by the Confederation of African Football, knocking out luminaries such as Egyptian forward Mahmoud El Khatib and striker Hossam Hassan.

This was one of many noteworthy achievements. In 2004, as part of the FIFA 100, Brazilian icon Pelé named him one of the 125 greatest-living football players.

Roger Milla social media

Regarding

Roger Milla social media

, it should be mentioned that he has an Instagram page (

@roger_milla_9

) with about 9k followers. In the page we can see various pictures of him with the fans and his family.

He also has a Twitter account (

@roger_milla_9

) with 27k followers. He often posts new stuff on his Twitter page.

Roger Milla body measurements

Speaking about

Roger Milla body measurements

, it should be mentioned that the African legend is 6 ft 0 in (176 cm) and weighs 158 lbs (72 kg).

Roger Milla net worth and salary

Roger Milla’s net worth

is estimated to be around $4 million- $6 million USD. His football career, first as a player and subsequently as a manager, is a major source of revenue for him.

But his jobs after retiring were also a source of revenue for him. For example, the Cameroonian Federation gave him the job of administrative director of the national team, and he later worked for the Cameroon Ministry of Sports.

Roger Milla is now a UNICEF ambassador in Cameroon, but he has indicated on many occasions that he would want to be President of the nation. He has a personal luxury vehicle, a large home, and a lavish lifestyle that allows him to travel throughout the globe.

 

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