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George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah (born 1 October 1966 in Monroviamarker) is a Liberianmarker politician and former football forward. He spent 14 years of his professional football career playing for clubs in Francemarker, Italymarker, and Englandmarker, winning titles in two of the three countries. In 1995, he was named FIFA World Player of the Year, European Footballer of the Year, and African Footballer of the Year. Weah has since become a humanitarian and politician in Liberia, and ran unsuccessfully in the 2005 Liberian presidential election, losing to Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in the second round of voting. Weah is the only FIFA World Player of the Year who failed to qualify for FIFA World Cup with his national team.

Personal life

George Weah was born and raised in the Clara Town slum of Monroviamarker. He is a member of the Kru ethnic group, which hails from south-eastern Liberia's Grand Kru Countymarker, 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 Christianity to Islam but later reverted back after having spent ten years as a Muslim. He hopes for peace for Muslims and Christians, and says they are "one people."

He is married to Clar Weah, a Jamaican who resides in America. George Weah is the father of four children: George Jr., Martha, Timothy George, and Jessica, who was adopted from Jamaicamarker. His son, George Weah Jr. once played for the US U-20 team, with his close friend Freddy Adu. He is also good friends with Joshua Smith. Weah Jr. played for the AC Milan Primavera team in the 2005-06 season. He was given a trial at Slavia Prague, but the club decided not to sign him.

Football career

At the pinnacle of success, Weah moved to Europe in 1988 when he was signed by Arsène Wenger, the manager of Monaco, who 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. In the 1990s Weah subsequently played for Paris Saint Germain (1992 - 95), with whom he won the French league in 1994; and AC Milan (1995 - 1999), with whom he won the Italian league in 1996 and 1999, and became the top scorer of the UEFA Champions League 1994–95. In 1995 he was named European Footballer of the Year and FIFA World Player of the Year. After leaving Milan in January 2000 Weah moved to Chelsea, Manchester City and Olympique Marseille in quick succession, before leaving Marseille in May 2001 for Al Jazira FC, in the United Arab Emiratesmarker. 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 Hotpsur 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. At Manchester City he scored once in the league against Liverpool again, and three times against Gillingham again, this time in the League Cup, once in the first leg and twice in the second.

As successful as he was at club level, Weah was not able to bring over that success to the Liberian national team. He has done everything with the 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. This has all led to Weah being known as one of the best footballers never to have played in a World Cup.

World Best Player 1995

Weah was named world best for 1995, becoming the only African player to win the award. He was the fifth recipient of the award. The Silver trophy was won by Paolo Maldini, and the Bronze by Jürgen Klinsmann. The other four recipients were: Lothar Matthaus '91, Marco Van Basten '92, Roberto Baggio '93, and Romario in '94. Weah also won the silver trophy the following year which was won by Brazilian striker Ronaldo. Alan Shearer was awarded the Bronze.

African Player of the Year 1989, 1994 and 1995

Weah won the African player of the year in 1989 when he was with AS Monaco 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 European Player of the Year in 1995, becoming the only African to win the award. Sports writers from all over Europe voted and awarded Weah as the best player in Europe for the year.

Onze Mondial 1995

  • The French Magazine name Weah as the top player in Europe for 1995
  • Fifa Fair Play Award 1996

African Player of the Century

Weah was voted the African player of the Century by sport journalists from all around the world. This award puts Weah in the company of some of the greatest players to have ever played the game. Pelé won the same award as the South American player of the Century and Johan Cruijff 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 November 20, 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 Costa during both of the teams' matches that autumn in the Champions League. Costa, who underwent facial surgery and was sidelined for three weeks, has avoided punishment by the UEFA.Despite the incident Weah still received the FIFAmarker Fair Play Award in 1996.


Weah is a devoted humanitarian for his war-torn country. At the 2004 ESPY Awards, he won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for his efforts. Weah was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004. 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 Liberiamarker. 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 is President of the Junior Professionals, a football team he founded in Monroviamarker in 1994. 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 Liberiamarker, have gone on to play for the Liberian national team.

In 1998 a documentary about Weah's footballing career at AC Milan was made broadcast on The A - Force BBC-TV, it was made by Pogus Caesar a British award winning producer and director.

Political career

Although he had denied interest in politics during his football career, in mid-November 2004, Weah announced his intention to stand in the October 2005 presidential election, having previously been the subject of a petition urging him to run; he received a hero's welcome upon his arrival in Monroviamarker in late November and was widely considered a favorite in the election. His eligibility was initially questioned due to debates over his citizenship (Weah having allegedly adopted French citizenship whilst at PSG; he has also lived in Staten Islandmarker, New Yorkmarker for many years now) but he was officially confirmed on 13 August 2005 as the candidate for the Congress for Democratic Change when the election commission published its final list.

Weah's lack of experience and of a prestigious college degree weighed heavily against him during the campaign. Opponents believed that Weah could have been manipulated if elected. His supporters argued that Weah's lack of experience was balanced by his lack of involvement in the Liberian Civil War. Some saw little risk in Weah becoming corrupt considering his wealth from football.

During his campaign Weah repeatedly emphasized the need for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in his country, known as UNMIL, to stay through the end of what would have been his first presidential term of office. Weah had also promised to bring low cost housing, electricity, running water, and better education to the countryside, where he himself lived for some time in the 1970s. He also called for the president's term in office to be reduced to four years from six.

Weah won a plurality in the first ballot on 11 October, but did not secure the required overall majority. A run-off vote took place on 8 November, pitting Weah against former World Bank employee and finance minister, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who won the vote to become the first elected female president in Africa. Weah disputed the electoral process, but on 21 December 2005 he dropped his legal challenge.

Following his defeat in the 2005 election, Weah returned to school, earning a high school diploma in the United Statesmarker before entering an unidentified Floridamarker university in 2007. Some analysts see the move as preparation for a repeat run for the presidency in 2011. Weah remains active in Liberian politics, returning from the United States in 2009 to campaign for the Congress for Democratic Change candidate in the Montserrado Countymarker senatorial by-election.

Career statistics


External links

1988-89 Monaco Division 1 24 14 5 2
1989-90 16 5 7 3
1990-91 28 10 5 3
1991-92 34 18 9 4
1992-93 Paris Saint-Germain Division 1 30 14 8 6
1993-94 32 11 5 1
1994-95 34 7 11 8

1995-96 Milan Serie A 26 11 6 3
1996-97 28 12 5 3
1997-98 24 12 0 0
1998-99 28 8 0 0
1999-00 8 3 1 1

1999-00 Chelsea Premier League 11 4 - -
2000-01 Manchester City Premier League 7 1 - -

2000-01 Olympique Marseille Division 1 15 5

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