-Expected in Liberia this week
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is expected to travel to Liberia this week to receive the West African country’s highest honor for his role in the development of the football career of President George Oppong Weah, Reuters reports.
“The two football managers will be honored by the government on August 24, National Flag Day, for their roles in President George Weah’s football career,” a spokesman said.
Both coaches will be awarded the honor at an investiture ceremony in Monrovia. In 1988, Wenger took Weah from Africa to play for Ligue 1 side Monaco in France, where the Frenchman was manager at the time, after a tip-off from his compatriot Le Roy, who first saw Weah playing in Cameroon.
Weah went on to play for AC Milan, Paris Saint Germain and Chelsea, an English Premier team. In 1995, Weah was named World Footballer of the Year, and won the Ballon d’Or, still the only African to win either award.
Weah’s popularity from his footballing career saw him win a landslide run-off victory last December in Liberia’s presidential elections.
It can be recalled that Weah began his football career in Liberia but spent 14 years playing for clubs in France, Italy, and England.
Arsène Wenger initially took Weah to Europe, signing him for Monaco in 1988. After four years, Weah moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 1992, where he won Ligue 1 in 1994 and became the top scorer of the 1994-1995 UEFA Champions League.
He signed for Milan in 1995 where he spent four successful seasons, winning Serie A twice. His most notable goal in Italy saw him run the length of the field against Verona. Weah then moved to the Premier League towards the end of his career and had spells at Chelsea and Manchester City, winning the FA Cup at the former before returning to France to play for Marseille in 2001, and subsequently ending his career with Al-Jazira in 2003.
At international level, Weah represented Liberia at the African Cup of Nations on two occasions, winning 60 caps and scoring 22 goals for his country.
He is regarded as one of the best players never to have played in a World Cup. Widely regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time, in 1995, he was named as a FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d’Or, becoming the first and to date only African player to win these awards. In 1989, 1994 and 1995, he was also named the African Footballer of the Year, and in 1996 he was named African Player of the Century.