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9 African Superstars Who Never Played In Africa

With many of the world's most talented African footballers currently playing in Europe's strongest leagues, here are nine world-class African stars who never played professionally on the African continent.

Tired of reading? Click through the gallery above to see nine incredibly talented Africans who never played professional club football in Africa.

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah is the perfect example of a player making headlines in his own country before being scouted and signing for a club abroad, but many other African superstars have had different success stories.

In Didier Drogba's case, he was sent to live with his siblings in France when he just a little boy. Despite returning to Abidjan just three years later, he moved back to France as a young teenager, and it was only then that the forward began taking his football seriously, before signing his first professional contract with Le Mans in 1999 as a 21-year-old.

The Ivorian went on to become one of the sport's all-time great strikers, spearheading Chelsea's attack for many of his years at the highest level. Although he never played his football in Africa, Drogba's call for the civil war in his country to end in 2006 is believed to have played a major role in helping those who were fighting to drop their weapons.

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Drogba was made an ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme just a year later for brining attention to issues in Africa, and continues to do charity work with the Didier Drogba Foundation.

A forward Drogba is often compared to, Samuel Eto'o, also never played professionally in Cameroon as Real Madrid was the first club he signed a contract with. The former FC Barcelona and Inter Milan man did do a lot of learning at the Kadji Sports Academy in his homeland, but has spent all of his professional career in Europe, Asia and Qatar.

Powerhouse siblings Kolo and Yaya Toure, who are perhaps the most successful African brothers in football, began their careers outside of their country of birth too, as did Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is the only star in the gallery who was not born in Africa.

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Liverpool winger Sadio Mane, who helped inspire the Reds to a sixth UEFA Champions League trophy this past season, made his senior debut at Metz in France seven years ago. A few other high-profile Africa stars also feature – click through the gallery to see them all!

Which of these African stars do you have the fondest memories of? Let us know in the comments section below. 

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