George Weah

Why Do People Love George Weah?

George Weah is a legendary soccer player turned politician from Liberia. He was one of the greatest African players of all time and the first African to win the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards. After retiring from soccer, Weah entered politics and became President of Liberia in 2018. But why do people love George Weah so much? Here are some of the main reasons:

Incredible Soccer Career

George Weah was born on October 1, 1966 in Clara Town, a slum area of Monrovia, Liberia. From a young age, soccer was his passion. However, opportunities were limited in the war-torn country. He dropped out of high school and started playing for local teams. In 1985, at age 19, he left Liberia to pursue his soccer dreams.

Success in Europe

Weah moved to Europe and signed his first professional contract with Cameroonian club Tonnerre Yaoundé. After a season, he moved to AS Monaco in France. Over the next 5 years at Monaco, Weah established himself as a star striker, helping the club win the French Cup in 1991. His goal scoring prowess attracted the attention of top clubs across Europe.

In 1992, he signed with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in France. At PSG, Weah reached the peak of his career. He led the team to Ligue 1 titles in 1994 and 1995 and won the Coupe de France in 1993 and 1995. Individually, he won the African Footballer of the Year award twice while at PSG.

AC Milan and Chelsea

Weah signed for Italian giants AC Milan in 1995. At Milan, he won Serie A twice, in 1996 and 1999, and was named the Serie A Footballer of the Year in 1996. In 1995, he also helped Milan reach the Champions League final. After 5 successful seasons at Milan, Weah joined English club Chelsea in 2000, where he played for 2 more seasons before retiring.

Individual Accolades

In 1995, George Weah won the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards, becoming the first and only African player so far to win these prestigious individual accolades. He won the African Footballer of the Year award in 1989, 1994 and 1995. Weah is considered one of the greatest African soccer players of all time.

Heroic Homecoming to Liberia

After 14 successful seasons in Europe, Weah returned home to Liberia in 2002. At the time, Liberia was in the midst of a brutal civil war. Weah decided to get involved in politics to help rebuild his country.

In 2005, Weah ran for President of Liberia as part of the Congress for Democratic Change party. He advanced to the second round of voting but ultimately lost to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Weah accepted defeat gracefully. He continued to be active in Liberian politics, serving as a Senator and then Vice President under President Sirleaf. He remained immensely popular among everyday Liberians who saw him as a hero.

In 2017, Weah ran for President again, this time successfully. He was elected President of Liberia in December 2017. For many Liberians, having their soccer legend finally become president represented hope for the future.

Promoting Peace Through Sports

As President, Weah has promoted peace and national unity through sports. He has supported youth soccer programs to give children better opportunities. In 2018, Weah played for Liberia’s national team in an African Cup of Nations qualifier at age 51. This was an inspirational moment showing his continued love for soccer.

Weah also has used his global profile to advocate for increased investment in sports infrastructure in Liberia as both an economic growth opportunity and a way to empower youth.

Humble Character and Connection to Common People

Another reason George Weah is so beloved is because of his humble origins and character. He grew up poor in a slum area of Liberia’s capital. When he became a successful soccer player, Weah did not forget where he came from.

Generous Philanthropy in Liberia

Weah used his wealth and fame to give back to his community in Liberia. He funded hospitals, schools, and social programs for disadvantaged youth. Weah also provided scholarships and sponsorships to help young Liberian soccer players follow in his footsteps.

Throughout his career, Weah maintained a reputation for modesty and generosity. While some star athletes became aloof and arrogant, Weah was known for his easy smile and caring attitude.

“Man of the People” Image in Politics

Later, when he entered politics, this down-to-earth character served Weah well. Other politicians were seen as elitist and disconnected from common people. Weah had an authentic “man of the people” image that resonated across Liberian society.

Weah intentionally ran grassroots campaigns where he interacted with everyday voters in villages and towns. His supporters felt he truly understood their lives and struggles.

Gives Liberians Hope and Pride

For years, Liberia has suffered from poverty, civil wars, and the Ebola crisis. As a result, there has been much despair, lack of opportunity, and lack of national pride.

George Weah’s incredible achievements have given Liberians a sense of hope about the future. Having one of their own as an international soccer icon inspires young Liberians to dream big. Now that Weah is president, he represents a leader who embodies the potential of the country when given the chance.

Uniting Force in a Divided Nation

Additionally, as mentioned earlier, Weah worked to unite Liberians across divisions as a political leader. His broad popularity across ethnic groups and social classes has made him a bridge-builder.

In a time of discord in Liberia, George Weah has emerged as a unifying national figure that all Liberians can rally around with pride and optimism.

Moments in George Weah’s Career

Here is an overview of some of the major highlights in George Weah’s illustrious career:

1985 – Leaves Liberia to start professional career

19-year-old Weah moves to Europe determined to become a professional soccer player. This marked the start of an incredible journey.

1988 – Signs with AS Monaco

After early success in Cameroon, Weah joins AS Monaco in France’s Ligue 1, gaining exposure at a top European club.

1991 – Wins French Cup with Monaco

Weah wins his first club honor as Monaco defeats Marseille in the Coupe de France final. Weah scores in a 2-1 victory.

1992 – Transfers to PSG

Weah signs with French giants Paris Saint-Germain. This move helps elevate him to superstar status.

1995 – Wins Ballon d’Or and FIFA Player of the Year

Weah enjoys a career-defining year, becoming the first and only African to win these prestigious awards.

1996 – Named Serie A Footballer of the Year

Weah wins Italian league’s top player award after leading AC Milan to the Serie A title in his first season with the club.

2002 – Plays last match for Chelsea

After amazing European career, Weah’s time at Chelsea ends in FA Cup final loss to Arsenal.

2005 – Runs for President of Liberia

Weah launches political career, coming second in presidential election won by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

2017 – Elected President of Liberia

After serving as Senator and Vice President, Weah finally achieves his goal of becoming Liberian President in 2017.

2018 – Plays international friendly for Liberia

Inspirational moment as 51-year-old President Weah plays for Liberian national team in African Cup of Nations qualifier.

Why George Weah is Considered the Best African Soccer Player Ever

George Weah is rightfully considered the greatest African soccer player of all time for a number of reasons:

  • First African winner of the Ballon d’Or and FIFA Player of the Year
  • Exceptional goalscoring ability and finishing
  • Pace, power, and athleticism made him a handful for defenders
  • Ability to win games singlehandedly with moments of genius
  • Longevity – remained a star for top clubs into his 30s
  • Success across multiple major European leagues (France, Italy, England)
  • Won league titles and cups in France, Italy and England
  • Individually won many trophies and accolades
  • Heroic national figure for Liberia and Africa
  • Inspired generations of African players

Some of Weah’s stunning individual plays are legendary in the sport. The solo goals he scored for AC Milan against Verona and Lazio in 1996 are considered two of the greatest goals ever. At his peak, he was simply unstoppable and irrepressible.

For all these reasons and more, George Weah stands out as not just Liberia’s greatest ever sportsman, but Africa’s too. No other African has matched his feats in European club soccer. He paved the way for all future African stars.

Quotes about George Weah’s Greatness

Here are some quotes from other players, coaches and experts about George Weah’s phenomenal ability and impact on the game:

“He was a phenomenon, whatever he did was unstoppable.” – Marco Simone, AC Milan teammate

“It’s been an honour to have played against him.” – Paolo Maldini, AC Milan legend

“He could win four or five games in a row on his own. Defenders would bounce off his immense frame.” – Ray Wilkins, Chelsea coach

“Players were already on the floor before he shot past them.” – Ronald Koeman, Barcelona legend

“For me he is an immortal, a legend in soccer that Africa has ever produced.” – Augustine Azuka “Jay-Jay” Okocha, Nigerian player

“African player of the 20th century? That’s George Weah for sure.” – Philippe Troussier, African soccer expert

“He has been a great uncle, just like he was a great footballer and a great leader.” – Sadio Mane, Senegalese star

These quotes speak to the amazing talent and inspiration George Weah embodied at his peak. He had a rare ability to take over games and awe audiences globally with his skills.

George Weah’s Soccer Legacy in Africa

George Weah is more than just the greatest African soccer player ever. He left behind an incredible legacy that helped transform African soccer. Here are some of his key achievements for African soccer’s development:

Paved the Way for Future Generations

By succeeding at the highest levels in Europe, Weah showed future generations of African kids that they could make it too. He helped break down barriers and give hope.

Inspired Young African Talent

Legends like Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto’o, Sadio Mane all looked up to Weah and were inspired to emulate him. This pushed African soccer forward.

Put African Soccer on the Map

Weah’s global profile and success made European clubs take African talent more seriously. He gave African soccer valuable exposure.

Leadership Back Home

Weah used his platform to promote African soccer, including building youth academies in Liberia and advocating for the sport across the continent.

Motivated Promising Players

The next generation like Abedi Pele were motivated by Weah’s path to become greats as well. This rising tide lifted African soccer overall.

Thanks to these contributions, George Weah is regarded as a pioneering figure in 21st century African soccer. He didn’t just achieve greatness himself, but empowered future generations.

How Can the Next George Weah Emerge?

So how can African nations work to develop the next global superstar like George Weah? Here are some ideas:

  • Grassroots development – Creating opportunities for kids to play locally, access facilities and coaching.
  • Youth academies – Top academies to train elite prospects using high standards and facilities.
  • Scouting networks – Connecting talented youth to pro clubs abroad.
  • Coaching education – Ensuring quality instruction and management to get the best from players.
  • Infrastructure investment – Building modern stadiums, pitches and sports infrastructure.
  • Pathways to turn pro – Clear progression from youth teams to professional leagues.
  • Reducing corruption – Making sure talent identification is merit-based, not exploiting players.
  • Stable professional leagues – Vibrant domestic leagues to develop homegrown talent.

With strategic long-term planning around these key factors, African soccer can maximize its potential and uncover the next superstars. The right investments and policies could unearth the next George Weah.

Challenges Facing the Emergence of Another African Legend

While African soccer has immense potential, there are still challenges facing the development of talents who can reach the heights of George Weah:

  • Limited opportunities – Lack of quality facilities, coaching, leagues in many African countries.
  • Economic barriers – Poverty makes it hard for kids to access soccer development pathways.
  • Corruption – Biased selection processes driven by personal connections rather than merit.
  • Training culture – More focus needed on individual skill development.
  • Lack of data analytics – Stats and analytics not used enough in scouting and decisions.
  • Poor administration – Weak organization of leagues and federations hampers progress.
  • Inadequate investment – More funding needed from governments and federations into the grassroots.
  • Drain of talent – Best players leave for European leagues early before their skills are polished.
  • Quality of coaching – Coach education lags behind leading soccer nations.

Overcoming these challenges will require coordinated efforts from policymakers, administrators, and local communities. But the reward would be transformational for African soccer.

How George Weah has Influenced African Politics

Beyond soccer, George Weah has also had an influential political career in Liberia:

  • Inspired other celebrities into politics – Weah showed famous figures their potential as political leaders.
  • Raised hopes for new generation of leaders – His election represented a break from the older generation of establishment politicians.
  • Promoted reconciliation – As mentioned earlier, Weah worked to heal ethnic and social divisions from past conflicts.
  • Increased youth participation – Many youth became politically active and voted for the first time to support Weah.
  • Provided a unifying figure – Weah’s broad popularity across groups was a stabilizing force for the country.
  • Motivated diaspora engagement – Liberians abroad were energized by Weah’s candidacy to get involved.
  • Model of perseverance – Weah demonstrated persistence in pursuing the presidency over 12+ years.

While there are still major challenges facing Liberia, Weah’s political rise signals a shift towards more dynamic and progressive leaders emerging across Africa. His unique background and appeal will surely inspire more grassroots politicians and reformers to follow his example.


In conclusion, George Weah is such a beloved and respected figure for many valid reasons. His extraordinary soccer career where he reached the pinnacle of the game put Liberia on the map and inspired generations of African players.

His generous philanthropy and humble character gave him an authentic connection to common people. As a political leader, Weah has rekindled a sense of national pride and unity in Liberia after years of instability.

Very few other figures in African history have had such a remarkable impact on sports, culture and politics. For these reasons, George Weah is not just a living legend but also a pioneering role model that transformed Africa’s place in the world.

Frequently Asked Questions about George Weah

Here are some common questions people have about the incredible life and career of George Weah:

What soccer position did George Weah play?

Weah was a ferocious striker who primarily played as a center-forward during his career. He sometimes played as a second striker or on the wing as well. His versatility was part of what made him dangerous in any attacking position.

How many goals did Weah score for PSG?

Weah scored 55 goals across 147 appearances for Paris Saint-Germain between 1992-1995. This made him the club’s top scorer during this period.

When did George Weah win the Ballon d’Or?

Weah had his best year in 1995, winning both the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards. He was the first and still the only African player to win these prestigious awards.

What number did George Weah wear at AC Milan?

During his hugely successful time at AC Milan between 1995-2000, George Weah wore the number 9 jersey. This reflected his position as the lead striker at the club.

Has George Weah been named a UN ambassador?

Yes, in April 2018 the United Nations appointed George Weah as an ambassador for its Sustainable Development Goals initiative in Africa. This role focuses on uplifting disadvantaged youth.

How many caps did George Weah earn playing for Liberia?

In total, George Weah earned 60 caps and scored 22 goals while playing for the Liberian national team between 1987 to 2002. He represented his country at the African Cup of Nations twice.

What investments has George Weah made in Liberian soccer?

Weah has funded several youth soccer academies in Liberia to develop local talent. He also bankrolled the Liberian national team during the late 1990s and 2000s.

What does George Weah’s political party stand for?

Weah won the presidency under his Coalition for Democratic Change party. The party promotes a progressive, reformist agenda aimed at economic growth and anti-corruption.

What number is George Weah on FIFA’s Top 100 players list?

In 2004, George Weah was voted the 9th greatest living footballer in a FIFA poll of experts. In the updated 2021 list, Weah ranks at number 30 of the greatest male players.

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