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Africa Cup of Nations in focus: Who are Africa's top UEFA Champions League performers?

Do Africa Cup of Nations stars Mohamed Salah and Riyad Mahrez feature among the UEFA Champions League all-time greats?

Who are the top-scoring African players in the UEFA Champions League?
Who are the top-scoring African players in the UEFA Champions League?

With a host of UEFA Champions League stars in action at the Africa Cup of Nations this month and next, UEFA.com looks at which of the continent's past and present players have made their mark in Europe's premier club competition.

Retired former winners such as Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto'o and Michael Essien feature particularly prominently at the top of the charts, but Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is among those rising fastest.

How UEFA and Europe's associations are helping African football

Most appearances by an African national in the European Champion Clubs' Cup/UEFA Champions League (including qualifying)

Didier Drogba: Watch some of his best Champions League goals
Didier Drogba: Watch some of his best Champions League goals

94: Didier Drogba (CIV – Marseille, Chelsea, Galatasaray)
82: Samuel Eto'o (CMR – Real Madrid, Mallorca, Barcelona, Internazionale, Chelsea)
76: Michael Essien (GHA – Lyon, Chelsea, Real Madrid, AC Milan)
74:
Mohamed Salah (EGY – Basel, Chelsea, Roma, Liverpool)
74:
Kolo Touré (CIV – Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Celtic)
73:
Samuel Kuffour (GHA – Bayern)
73: Yaya Touré (CIV – Olympiacos, Barcelona, Manchester City)
72: Emmanuel Eboué (CIV – Arsenal, Galatasaray)
66: Seydou Keita (MLI – Marseille, Lens, Sevilla, Barcelona, Roma)
60: Nwankwo Kanu (NIG – Ajax, Arsenal)

Drogba made his UEFA Champions League debut for Marseille in August 2003, scoring his first goal in his first group stage game – a 4-2 defeat away to Real Madrid – the following month. The bulk of his appearances (74) came for Chelsea, starting under José Mourinho in 2004.

The most memorable night of all was 19 May 2012, when Drogba scored a late equaliser against Bayern in the Munich final before then converting the winning penalty in the shoot-out. His previous final for the Blues – against Manchester United four years previously – had ended in heartache, Drogba receiving a red card in extra time.

Drogba's 44 UEFA Champions League goals put him 12th on the all-time list.

Top-scoring African nationals in the European Champion Clubs' Cup/UEFA Champions League (including qualifying)

44: Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast – Marseille, Chelsea, Galatasaray)
39: Mohamed Salah (Egypt – Basel, Chelsea, Roma, Liverpool)
33: Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon – Real Madrid, Mallorca, Barcelona, Internazionale, Chelsea)
21: Sadio Mané (Senegal – Salzburg, Liverpool)
19: Seydou Doumbia (Ivory Coast – CSKA Moskva, Basel, Sporting CP)
15: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon – Dortmund)
15: Riyad Mahrez (Algeria – Leicester, Manchester City)
14: Vincent Aboubakar (Cameroon – Porto, Beşiktaş)
14: Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo – Monaco, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Başakşehir)
14:
George Weah (Liberia – Monaco, Paris, AC Milan)

Most appearances by African nationals in UEFA club competition*

Samuel Eto'o with Madrid in 1999
Samuel Eto'o with Madrid in 1999©Getty Images

113: Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon – Real Madrid, Mallorca, Barcelona, Internazionale, Anji, Chelsea, Everton)
111: Seydou Keita  (Mali – Marseille, Lens, Sevilla, Barcelona, Valencia, Roma)
103: Mohamed Salah (Egypt – Basel, Chelsea, Fiorentina, Roma, Liverpool)
102: Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast – Marseille, Chelsea, Galatasaray)
91: Yaya Touré (Ivory Coast – Metalurh Donetsk, Olympiacos, Barcelona, Manchester City)
90: Samuel Kuffour (Ghana – Bayern, Roma, Livorno)
90: Kolo Touré (Ivory Coast – Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Celtic)
82: Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo – Monaco, Arsenal, Man. City, Real Madrid, Tottenham, Başakşehir)
81:
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon – LOSC, Dortmund, Arsenal)
81: Nwankwo Kanu (Nigeria – Ajax, Internazionale, Arsenal, Portsmouth)

Eto's first appearance in UEFA club competition was for Real Madrid in the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League group stage, though his first goal did not come until nearly two years later – in a third qualifying round game for RCD Mallorca. His most sustained period of European success came at Barcelona, where he twice lifted the UEFA Champions League trophy (2006 and 2009), scoring in the final on both occasions. Eto'o added a third triumph with Inter in 2010.

Top-scoring African nationals in UEFA club competition*

Gabon and Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Gabon and Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick AubameyangGetty Images

50: Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast – Marseille, Chelsea, Galatasaray)
48: Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon – Real Madrid, Mallorca, Barcelona, Internazionale, Anji, Chelsea, Everton)
44:
Mohamed Salah (Egypt – Basel, Chelsea, Fiorentina, Roma, Liverpool)
40:
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon – LOSC, Dortmund, Arsenal)
35: George Weah (Liberia – Monaco, Paris, AC Milan)
32: Benni McCarthy (South Africa – Ajax, Celta, Porto, Blackburn)
31: Frédéric Kanouté (Mali – Lyon, Sevilla)
29: Seydou Doumbia (Ivory Coast – Young Boys, CSKA Moskva, Basel, Sporting CP)
29: Sadio Mané (Senegal – Salzburg, Southampton, Liverpool)
26: Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo – Monaco, Arsenal, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Tottenham, Başakşehir)

Chelsea's African pioneer, Derek Smethurst
Chelsea's African pioneer, Derek Smethurst©Getty Images

First African player to win a UEFA club competition
Derek Smethurst (South Africa, Chelsea 3-2agg Real Madrid, 1971 European Cup Winners' Cup)

First African player to feature in a UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League final
Abdelkrim Merry (Morocco, Bastia 0-3 PSV, 1978)

First African player to win (or feature) in a European Champion Clubs' Cup final
Bruce Grobbelaar (Zimbabwe – Roma 1-1 Liverpool, aet, Liverpool win 4-2 on penalties, 1983/84)

First African player to score in a European Champion Clubs' Cup final
Rabah Madjer (Algeria – Bayern 1-2 Porto, 1986/87)

First African player to win the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League
Taribo West (Nigeria, Lazio 0-3 Internazionale, 1998)

Nation-by-nation: Most appearances by African players in UEFA club competition*

Algeria and Galatasaray's Sofiane Feghouli
Algeria and Galatasaray's Sofiane FeghouliANP Sport via Getty Images

Algeria – 65: Sofiane Feghouli (Valencia, West Ham, Galatasaray)
Angola – 20: Bastos (Rostov, Lazio)
Benin – 18: Babatounde Bello (Žilina)
Botswana – NONE
Burkina Faso – 72: Charles Kaboré (Marseille, Krasnodar, Dinamo Moskva)
Burundi – 14: Gaël Bigirimana (Newcastle, Glentoran)
Cameroon – 113: Samuel Eto’o (Real Madrid, Mallorca, Barcelona, Internazionale, Anji, Chelsea, Everton)
Cape Verde – 46: Stopira (Fehérvár)
Central African Republic – 25: Foxi Kéthévoama (Újpest, Kecskemét, Astana)
Chad – 23: Japhet N’Doram (Nantes, Monaco)
Comoros – 51: Ben (Crvena zvezda)
DR Congo – 61: Dieudonné Mbokani (Anderlecht, Standard Liège, Dynamo Kyiv, Antwerp)
Republic of Congo – 44: Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo (Club Brugge, Rapid Wien, Celtic, Başakşehir)
Djibouti – NONE
Egypt – 103: Mohamed Salah (Basel, Chelsea, Fiorentina, Roma, Liverpool)
Equatorial Guinea – 8: Juvenal Edjogo-Owono (Racing Santander, FC Santa Coloma)
Eritrea – 29: Henok Goitom (AIK Solna)
Eswatini
– NONE
Ethiopia – 1: Beneyam Demte (Skënderbeu)
Gabon – 81: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (LOSC Lille, Dortmund, Arsenal)
Gambia – 38: Demba Savage (Honka, HJK Helsinki, Häcken)
Ghana – 90: Samuel Kuffour (Bayern, Roma, Livorno)

Guinea and Olympiacos's Mady Camara
Guinea and Olympiacos's Mady CamaraGetty Images

Guinea – 46: Mady Camara (Olympiacos)
Guinea-Bissau – 37: Amadou Diawara (Napoli, Roma)
Ivory Coast – 102: Didier Drogba (Marseille, Chelsea, Galatasaray)
Kenya – 33: Victor Wanyama (Celtic, Tottenham)
Lesotho – NONE
Liberia – 62: George Weah (Monaco, Paris, AC Milan)
Libya – 19= Ali Musrati (Vitória SC, Braga), Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (Austria Wien)
Madagascar – 61: Anicet Abel (CSKA Sofia, Botev Plovdiv, Ludogorets)
Malawi – 6: Charles Petro (Sheriff)
Mali – 111: Seydou Keita (Marseille, Lens, Sevilla, Barcelona, Valencia, Roma)
Mauritania – NONE
Mauritius – 4: Diallo Guidileye (AEL Limassol)
Morocco – 65: Hakim Ziyech (Heerenveen, Twente, Ajax, Chelsea)
Mozambique – 35: Simão (Panathinaikos)
Namibia – 31: Collin Benjamin (Hamburg)
Niger – 15: Orosco Anonam (Sliema Wanderers, APOEL)
Nigeria – 81: Nwankwo Kanu (Ajax, Internazionale, Arsenal, Portsmouth)
Rwanda – 37: Mohamed Tchité (Standard Liège, Anderlecht, Racing Santander, Club Brugge)
São Tomé and Principe – NONE

Senegal and Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly
Senegal and Napoli's Kalidou KoulibalySOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

Senegal – 80: Kalidou Koulibaly (Genk, Napoli)
Seychelles – NONE
Sierra Leone – 33: Mohamed Kamara (HJK Helsinki, Partizan)
Somalia – 8: Liban Abdi (Ferencváros, Haugesund)
South Africa – 77: Benni McCarthy (Ajax, Celta Vigo, Porto, Blackburn)
South Sudan – NONE
Sudan – NONE
Tanzania – 42: Mbwana Samatta (Genk, Antwerp)
Togo – 82: Emmanuel Adebayor (Monaco, Arsenal, Man. City, Real Madrid, Tottenham, Başakşehir)
Tunisia – 43: Karim Haggui (Strasbourg, Leverkusen, Hannover)
Uganda – 46: Ibrahim Sekagya (Salzburg)
Zambia – 32: Patson Daka (Salzburg, Leicester)
Zimbabwe – 41: Costa Nhamoinesu (Sparta Praha)

*UEFA club competitions means European Champion Clubs' Cup/UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League, UEFA Europa Conference League, European/South American Cup, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, UEFA Super Cupand UEFA Intertoto Cup

Last updated on 5 January