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African Football

16 Footballers You Didn't Know Were Born in Africa

Africa is home to some of the world's footballing greats, including some who represented European nations on the international stage, such as France and Spain. Here are 16 high-profile players you might not have known were born on the African continent!

Click through the gallery above to see 16 famous players who were born in Africa, according to Transfermarkt!

Last year, FC Barcelona wonderkid Ansu Fati made his senior debut for Spain after impressing with the Blaugrana's first team during the 2020/21 season. Coming through the academy, many tipped the winger for a great career and he has not disappointed so far.

The 18-year-old has already made 43 appearances for Barcelona's senior side, during which he contributed to 17 strikes. Fati, a key player for two of the biggest football entities in the world in Spain and the Blaugrana, was born in Guinea-Bissau.

After spending time in Portugal with his family before moving to Spain, Fati was reportedly also eligible to represent A Selecao, but ultimately chose to accept Luis Enrique's call-up in 2020 to be a part of his La Furia Roja set-up.

Fati, potentially a future superstar, joins a long list of African-born talents who went on to play for European nations at the highest level, including France and Arsenal icon Patrick Vieira, who was born in Dakar, Senegal, and Portugal legend Eusebio.

The late Benfica megastar, who sadly passed away in 2014, made 64 appearances for Portugal between 1961 and 1973, during which he helped the country to a third-place finish at the 1966 FIFA World Cup. Eusebio, born Eusebio da Silva Ferreira, was born in Maputo, Mozambique, and moved to Europe as an 18-year-old.

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Interestingly, his ex-Benfica and Portugal teammate Mario Coluna, with whom he shared a special relationship on and off the field, was also born in Mozambique. Coluna was widely considered to be one of the best midfielders of his generation, before later returning to his home country where he, like Eusebio, passed away in 2014.

While he switched nationalities after making two senior appearances for England, Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha was actually born in the Ivory Coast, whom he now represents at international level. Zaha was reportedly set on playing for the Three Lions, but later changed his allegiance after being overlooked for selection. Today, the winger has appeared on 14 occasions for the Elephants.

Click through the gallery below to see 12 top players who could still choose to play for African nations! 

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