Weah at Milan holding the Ballon d'Or in 1995
|Full name||George Tawlon Manneh
Oppong Ousman Weah
|Date of birth||1 October 1966|
|Place of birth||Monrovia, Liberia|
|Height||1.84 m (6 ft 0.5 in)|
|1981–1984||Young Survivors Claratown|
|2000||→ Chelsea (loan)||11||(3)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah (born 1 October 1966) is a Liberian humanitarian, politician, and an ex-footballer who played as a striker. Regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time, in 1995 he was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d'Or. In 1989, 1994 and 1995 he was the African Footballer of the Year. In 2004 he was named in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players.
Weah spent fourteen years of his professional football career playing for clubs in France, Italy, and England. Arsène Wenger brought him to Europe when he signed for Monaco in 1988. Weah moved to Paris Saint Germain in 1992 where he won Ligue 1 in 1994 and became the top scorer of the UEFA Champions League 1994–95. He signed for A.C. Milan in 1995 where he spent four very successful seasons, scoring some spectacular goals (the most notable running the length of the field against Verona), and won Serie A twice. He then moved to the English Premier League towards the end of his career and had spells at Chelsea and Manchester City.
An idol in Africa, Weah has been heavily involved in politics in his homeland Liberia. He ran unsuccessfully for president in the 2005 election, losing to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the second round of voting. In the 2011 election, he ran for vice president on Winston Tubman's ticket. Running as a Congress for Democratic Change candidate, he was elected to the Senate in 2014.
- 1 Football career
- 2 Style of play
- 3 Media
- 4 Humanitarianism
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Political career
- 7 Career statistics
- 8 Honours
- 9 References
- 10 External links
After playing in the Liberian domestic League at the beginning of his successful career, and winning several national honours (including the Liberian Premier League and the Liberian Cup), Weah moved to Europe in 1988, when he was signed by Arsène Wenger, who was the manager of Monaco at the time, whom Weah credits as an important influence on his career. At Monaco, Weah was a member of the team that won the French Cup in 1991, and he helped his club to reach the final of the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1992, scoring 4 goals in 9 cup appearances. Weah subsequently played for Paris Saint Germain (1992–95), with whom he won the Coupe de France in 1993 and 1995, the French league in 1994, the Coupe de la Ligue in 1995 during a highly prolific and successful period; he also became the top scorer of the UEFA Champions League 1994–95, with 7 goals, after reaching the semi-finals with the club, one of which was a skilful wonder goal against Bayern Munich in the group stage, on the 23rd November 1994. He also managed to reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup during the 1992-93 season, and the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup during the 1993-94 season; in total, he scored 16 goals in 25 European games.
Weah moved to AC Milan in 1995 with whom he won the Italian league in 1996 and 1999, also reaching the 1998 Coppa Italia final, and finishing as runners-up in the Supercoppa Italiana on two occasions, in 1996 and 1999. Despite their European dominance in the early 1990s, Milan were less successful in Europe during this time however, with their best result being a quarter-final finish in the 1995-96 UEFA Cup. In 1995 Weah won the Ballon d'Or, the Onze d'Or, and was named FIFA World Player of the Year, becoming the first native African player to ever win these awards. In addition to his skill and goalscoring prowess, Weah also became famous at Milan for scoring a solo goal against Verona at the San Siro which saw him take the ball just outside his own penalty area, and slalom his way past seven opposing players, before scoring. In 1996, Weah finished second in the FIFA World Player of the Year ranking. After leaving Milan in January 2000 Weah moved to Chelsea, winning the F.A. Cup in 2000, later transferring to Manchester City, and Olympique Marseille in quick succession, before leaving Marseille in May 2001 for Al Jazira FC, in the United Arab Emirates, where he remained until his retirement as a player in 2003.
As successful as he was at club level, Weah was not able to bring over that success to the Liberian national team, scoring 13 goals in 60 games. As one of the smaller nations in world football and perennial underdogs, Weah did everything with the national squad from playing to coaching to financing it, but failed to qualify for a single World Cup, falling just a point short in qualifying for the 2002 tournament. He was able to help his country qualify for two editions of the African Cup of Nations, in 1996 and 2002, but on both occasions, they were eliminated in the first round.
FIFA World Player of the Year 1995
African Player of the Year 1989, 1994 and 1995
Weah won the African Footballer of the Year in 1989 when he was with AS Monaco, 1994 when he was at Paris Saint Germain, and 1995 with AC Milan. That year he won almost every award a footballer could win. When he won the award in 1989, it was his first major award and he took it back home for the entire country to celebrate, similar to what he did when he won the world best title and the Onze Mondial title.
European Player of the Year 1995
Weah won the Ballon d'Or (European Player of the Year) in 1995, becoming the first and, currently, only African player to win the award. Sports writers from all over Europe voted and awarded Weah as the best player in Europe for the year. When he won the World player of the year he dedicated it to his manager Arsene Wenger who made him a world class player.
Onze Mondial 1995
- The French Magazine name Weah as the top player in Europe for 1995, awarding him the Onze d'Or prize that year.
- FIFA Fair Play Award 1996
- African Player of the Year
African Player of the Century
Weah was voted the African Player of the Century by sport journalists from all around the world. Pelé won the same award as the South American Player of the Century and Johan Cruyff as the European Player of the Century.
Weah was banned from six European matches for breaking the nose of the Portuguese defender Jorge Costa on 20 November 1996 in the players' tunnel after AC Milan's draw at FC Porto. Weah said he exploded in frustration after putting up with racist tauntings from Jorge Costa during both of the teams' matches that autumn in the Champions League. Costa strenuously denied the accusations of racism and was not charged by UEFA as no witnesses could verify Weah's allegations, not even his Milan team mates. Weah later attempted to apologise to Costa but this was rebuffed by the Portuguese, who considered the charges of racist insults levelled against him to be defamatory and took the Liberian to court. The incident led to him undergoing facial surgery and he was subsequently sidelined for three weeks. Despite the incident Weah still received the FIFA Fair Play Award in 1996.
Spell in England
Weah's time in England was deemed a success, especially at Chelsea where he instantly endeared himself to their fans by scoring the winner against rivals Tottenham Hotspur on his debut, and scored further league goals against Wimbledon and Liverpool. He also scored twice in Chelsea's victorious 1999–2000 FA Cup campaign, netting crucial goals against Leicester City and Gillingham. This led to him starting in the final, which Chelsea won 1–0.
Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli did not make Weah's move permanent, and on 1 August 2000 he signed for newly promoted English Premier League side Manchester City on a free transfer on a two-year contract worth £30,000 a week, declining the offer of a £1 million pay-off from Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi. He played 11 games in all competitions for City, scoring four times, before leaving on 16 October 2000 after becoming dissatisfied with manager Joe Royle for selecting him as a substitute too frequently; he had only played the full 90 minutes in three of his 11 games for the Maine Road club. At City he scored once in the league against Liverpool (as he did at Chelsea), and three times against Gillingham (again as he had at Chelsea), this time in the League Cup; once in the first leg and twice in the second.
Weah played 60 games for Liberia over 20 years, scoring 22 goals. He has been the team's star player, a coach and to a large extent, funded the team. Although he was unsuccessful in helping his team qualify for a World Cup, missing out on the 2002 edition by a single point, he helped Liberia to qualify for the African Cup of Nations on two occasions, representing his country in the 1996 and 2002 editions, although Liberia failed to make it out of their group on both occasions of the tournament.
Style of play
During his prime in the 1990s, Weah was regarded as one of the best strikers in the world, lauded for his physical and athletic attributes, which he combined with his finishing, technical ability, creativity and skill. A fast, powerful, physically strong player, he successfully filled the void left in the Milan attack by club legend Marco van Basten. Along with Ronaldo and Romário, Weah was seen as a modern, new breed of striker in the 1990s, who took the ball from outside the penalty area and ran towards goal, during a time when most strikers primarily operated in the penalty area in order to receive passes from team mates.
Named African Footballer of the Year three times and become the first African to be named FIFA World Player of the Year, his prominence in the 1990s led him to be nicknamed "King George". Weah received further recognition in 2004 when he was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players. In 2013, Italy and AC Milan legend Franco Baresi named Weah in the greatest XI he has ever played with. As well as being regarded as one of the greatest African footballers of all time, during his career Weah also stood out off the pitch for his initiatives to fight racism in football.
Weah is a devoted humanitarian for his war-torn country. At the 2004 ESPY Awards at the Kodak Theatre, Los Angeles, Weah won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for his efforts. He has also been named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, a role which he has suspended while he pursues a political career.
Football and children
Weah has tried to use football as a way to bring happiness and promote education for children in Liberia. In 1998, Weah launched a CD called Lively Up Africa featuring the singer Frisbie Omo Isibor and eight other African football stars. The proceeds from this CD went to children's programmes in the countries of origin of the athletes involved.
Weah was President of the Junior Professionals, a football team he founded in Monrovia in 1994. The team is now defunct. As a way to encourage young people to remain in school, the club's only requirement for membership is school attendance. Many of the young people, recruited from all over Liberia, have gone on to play for the Liberian national team.
George Weah was born and raised in the Clara Town slum of Monrovia. He is a member of the Kru ethnic group, which hails from south-eastern Liberia's Grand Kru County, one of the poorest areas of the country. His parents were William T. Weah, Sr. and Anna Quayeweah. He was raised largely by his paternal grandmother, Emma Klonjlaleh Brown. He attended middle school at Muslim Congress and high school at Wells Hairston High School. Before his football career allowed him to move abroad, Weah worked for the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation as a switchboard technician.
George Weah converted from Protestant Christianity to Islam, before converting back. He hopes for peace for Muslims and Christians, and says they are "one people." Nowadays Weah professes Protestantism.
Following the end of Second Liberian Civil War, Weah announced his intention to run for President of Liberia in the 2005 elections, forming the Congress for Democratic Change to back his candidacy. While Weah was a popular figure in Liberia, opponents cited his lack of formal education as a handicap to his ability to lead the country, in contrast with his Harvard-educated opponent, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Analysts also noted Weah's lack of experience, calling him a "babe-in-the-woods", while Sirleaf had served as Minister of Finance in the Tolbert administration in the 1970s and had held positions at Citibank, the World Bank and the United Nations. Weah's eligibility to run for Presidency was also called into question as it was reported that he had become a French citizen in his footballing career at Paris St. Germain, but these complaints were rebuffed by the electoral commission in court and Weah was allowed to proceed.
Weah obtained a plurality of votes in the first round of voting on 11 October, garnering 28.3% of the vote. This qualified him to compete in a run-off election against Sirleaf, the second placed candidate. However, he lost the run-off to Sirleaf on 8 November, garnering only 40.6% to 59.4% for Sirleaf. Weah alleged that the election had been rigged through voter intimidation and ballot tampering, and many of his supporters protested the results in the streets of Monrovia. However, after assurances that the vote was fair several prominent African leaders called on Weah's supporters to accept the result with grace and dignity, and Sirleaf became President. The African Union had characterized the elections as "peaceful, transparent, and fair".
Weah's lack of education became a campaign issue. He has been highly critical of those who say he is not fit to govern: "With all their education and experience, they have governed this nation for hundreds of years. They have never done anything for the nation." He initially claimed to have a BA degree in Sports Management from Parkwood University in London. However this is an unaccredited diploma mill which awards certificates without requiring study. Weah then pursued a degree in business administration at DeVry University in Miami.
Weah also remained active in Liberian politics, returning from the United States in 2009 to successfully campaign for the Congress for Democratic Change candidate in the Montserrado County senatorial by-election. Some analysts saw these moves as preparation for a repeat run for the Presidency in 2011, and Weah did indeed later announce his intention to challenge Sirleaf in the 2011 election. After a series of failed alliances with other opposition parties, the Congress for Democratic Change chose Weah as its 2011 vice presidential candidate, running with presidential candidate Winston Tubman.
In 2014 he ran for election to the Senate as a Congress for Democratic Change candidate in Montserrado County. He was overwhelmingly elected to the Liberian Senate on December 20, 2014. Weah defeated Robert Sirleaf, the son of President Sirleaf, becoming the first Liberian international athlete elected to represent a county in the Legislature. He won a landslide victory, receiving 99,226 votes, which represented 78.0% of the total votes from the 141 polling centers, while Sirleaf, his closest rival received 13,692 votes, which is nearly 11% in the election marred only by a low turnout.
|Club||Season||League||Cup||League Cup||Super Cup||Europe||Total|
- Scores and results list Liberia's goal tally first.
|1.||1987-01-30||National Complex, Monrovia||Nigeria||1–0||2–0||1987 West African Nations Cup|
|2.||1988-08-21||National Complex, Monrovia||Ghana||1–0||2–0||1990 World Cup qualifier|
|3.||1989-06-11||National Complex, Monrovia||Malawi||1–0||1–0||1990 World Cup qualifier|
|4.||1994-09-04||National Complex, Monrovia||Togo||1–0||1–0||1996 African Cup of Nations qualifier|
|5.||1996-06-23||Accra Sports Stadium, Accra||Gambia||2–0||4–0||1998 World Cup qualifier|
|6.||1997-04-06||Accra Sports Stadium, Accra||Egypt||1–0||1–0||1998 World Cup qualifier|
|7.||1997-06-22||National Complex, Monrovia||DR Congo||2–0||2–1||1998 African Cup of Nations qualifier|
|8.||1999-06-20||National Complex, Monrovia||Tunisia||2–0||2–0||2000 African Cup of Nations qualifier|
|9.||2000-07-16||National Complex, Monrovia||Cape Verde||1–0||3–0||2002 African Cup of Nations qualifier|
|10.||2001-04-22||National Complex, Monrovia||Sudan||2–0||2–0||2002 World Cup qualifier|
|11.||2001-07-14||National Stadium, Freetown||Sierra Leone||1–0||1–0||2002 World Cup qualifier|
|12.||2001-08-23||Estadio Luis de la Fuente, Veracruz||Mexico||1–2||4–5||Friendly|
|13.||2002-01-19||Stade du 26 Mars, Bamako||Mali||1–0||1–1||2002 African Cup of Nations|
- Liberian Premier League: 1986–87
- African Footballer of the Year: 1989, 1994, 1995
- UEFA Champions League Topscorer: 1994–95
- BBC African Footballer of the Year: 1995
- Onze d'Or: 1995
- Ballon d'Or: 1995
- FIFA World Player of the Year: 1995
- ESM Team of the Year: 1995–96
- Onzes d'Argent: 1996
- FIFA Fair Play Award: 1996
- African Player of the Century: 1996
- FIFA World Player of the Year (Silver award): 1996
- FIFA 100
- "FIFA Magazine – An idol for African footballers". FIFA. Archived from the original on 19 July 2006. Retrieved 6 December 2006.
- "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
- "AC Milan Hall of Fame: George Weah". Retrieved 9 December 2014.
- "Iconic Weah a true great". FIFA.com. Retrieved 17 November 2013
- "George Weah in focus". bbc.co.uk (London). 25 July 2001. Retrieved 9 December 2006.[dead link]
- "On The Spot: George Weah". Daily Telegraph (London). Archived from the original on 14 October 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2006.
- "UEFA 60 Great goals: Weah". Retrieved 15 December 2014.
- "Court postpones Weah trial". . 28 February 2001. Retrieved 28 February 2001.[dead link]
- "Weah's Ban Puts Soccer's Fairness Rule on the Line". IHT.com. Retrieved 19 June 2008.[dead link]
- "Weah cleared for debut". BBC News. 12 January 2000.
- "Winner for Weah on debut". London: BBC. 12 January 2000. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
- Ridley, Ian (12 February 2000). "Olsen's flying circus on downward spiral". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
- "Weah gives Liverpool the Blues". London: BBC. 29 April 2000. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
- Brodkin, Jon (30 January 2000). "Blues see red and yellow". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
- Thorpe, Martin (20 February 2000). "Chelsea bring Gills down to earth". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
- Rich, Tim (2 August 2000). "Weah joins Royle's revolution". The Independent (London).
- "Weah snubs golden handshake". BBC News. 19 August 2000.
- Nixon, Alan (17 October 2000). "Weah's blue moon affair lasts 11 games". The Independent (London).
- "Hamann double sees off City". London: BBC. 9 September 2000. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
- "Manchester City 1–1 Gillingham". London: BBC. 20 September 2000. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
- "Gillingham 2–4 Man City (agg: 3–5)". London: BBC. 26 September 2000. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
- "The best footballers to have never played in the World Cup". Daily Mail. Retrieved 21 January 2015
- "Iconic Weah a true great". FIFA.com. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- "George Weah". http://www.britannica.com. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- "Ronaldo, Klose: Different to the finish". Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- "Ronaldo, Romario Reinvented Striker's Role, Says Thierry Henry". In Sports. Retrieved 16 January 2015
- "Italian Franco Baresi picks One2Eleven on the Fantasy Football Club". Sky Sports. Retrieved 16 January 2015
- "FIFA 14 Ultimate Team Legends". EA Sports. Retrieved 6 February 2015
- "Weah selected for Arthur Ashe Courage Award". ESPN.com. Retrieved 25 April 2007.
- "George Weah's son having trial at Chelsea". ESPN FC. 29 March 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
- "Timothy Weah". U.S. Soccer. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
- You quizzed George Weah – BBC.com
- "Profile: George Weah". BBC News. 11 November 2005.
- "African leaders hail Liberia poll". BBC News. 13 November 2005.
- David Goldenberg (22 April 2005). "George Weah in Diploma-Mill Scandal". Gelf Magazine.
- Liberia's George Weah to Seek a College Degree. Voice of America. 19 June 2007. Accessed 30 November 2009
- George Weah gets educated in quest for election. USA Today. 11 August 2010. Accessed 11 August 2010
- Weah Confronted. Liberian Observer 25 November 2009. Accessed 30 November 2009
- College-bound George Weah gave us something to talk about. The Liberian Dialogue 22 July 2007. Accessed 30 November 2009
- "Brumskine-Siakor: Another Dream Ticket?". The 1847 Post. 9 February 2011.
- Montserrado County NEC Liberia
-  Statistics link
-  Statistics link 2
- Player profile and statistics – www.liberiansoccer.com
- Criticism of Weah's campaign for presidency
- Biography on UNICEF's homepage
- Italian Profile