Futaa's best XI of African stars dazzling in Europe
African stars have shone bright this season across Europe, which has made the task of compiling the best XI representing the continent in Europe’s top five leagues an exciting challenge.
Here goes! We've selected a 4-2-3-1 and a talented bench of seven substitutes.
GK. André Onana 🇨🇲 (Ajax Amsterdam)
The Cameroonian stopper came through the Barcelona ranks but was allowed to slip through the cracks. The 23-year-old has been outstanding for Ajax this season and made outstanding saves in their memorable semifinal clash in the Champions League against Tottenham. There might well be a high-cost auction for his signature come the transfer window.
RB. Achraf Hakimi 🇲🇦 (Borussia Dortmund)
On-loan from Real Madrid, the 20-year-old Moroccan is highly regarded around Europe and it's not hard to see why. He's got two goals and seven assists this season for the German side in all competitions this season, from an unfamiliar left-back role. His natural right back position is where he slots in here, and watch out for him next season where he will be staking a claim for Dani Carvajal's right back spot at Real.
CB. Joël Matip 🇨🇲 (Liverpool)
Liverpool's defence started out with a Lovren/van Dijk combination but when Lovren lost his place through a combination of poor form and injuries, Cameroonian star Matip stepped up to the plate and looked assured and composed on the ball at the back. He came close to claiming a Premier League title, but will still hope to feature in the Champions League final next month.
CB. Kalidou Koulibaly 🇸🇳 (Napoli)
K2, his nickname because of his imposing height, has attracted interest from clubs around Europe for the past few seasons. Napoli's second-place finish in Serie A this season has been in part down to Koulibaly's excellence and consistency. He's made 34 starts in 36 league outings and has become composed on the ball, an area that he has developed in the last few years, to supplement his aerial dominance and aggression. The complete package defender.
LB. Samuel Chukwueze 🇳🇬 (Villarreal)
It's not often that a teenager bursts onto the scene as abruptly as Samuel Chukwueze, especially in the lower reaches of Spain's LaLiga. Chukwueze is versatile enough to operate as a left-back or move further upfield and cause damage from a wider midfield role. Eight goals and three assists is an excellent return this season. Watch out for this 19-year-old as he's a genuine rising star of the game.
DM. Wilfred Ndidi 🇳🇬 (Leicester City)
No player in England's Premier League made more tackles than the 24-year-old Nigerian. Ever since N'Golo Kante's exit from Leicester, observers feared the worst for the Foxes, but Ndidi has stepped up in expert fashion to marshal Brendan Rodgers' midfield at the 2016 Champions.
DM. Thomas Partey 🇬🇭 (Atletico Madrid)
Black Stars midfield general Thomas Partey has quietly become a crucial cog in Diego Simeone's Atletico outfit. He generally starts the big games when he's fit and has also attracted interest from the Premier League. After a difficult season for Atletico Madrid overall, and with the likes of Antoine Griezmann & Diego Godin moving on, it might be time for Partey to consider his options. The Ghanaian hasn't looked out of his place mixing it with Europe's elite central midfielders.
RW. Mohamed Salah 🇪🇬 (Liverpool)
Last season's Premier League player of the year had a slow start to 2018/2019 but he ended up as a joint-winner of the Golden Boot with 22 goals, sharing the award with two other African stars also in this team. Salah scored memorably against Chelsea in the Premier League and is a popular figure in the dressing room at Anfield. On his personal agenda will be to get fit for the Champions League final on June 1st. The Egyptian infamously got injured in last season's showpiece after a clash with Sergio Ramos. What better way to make up for that disappointment than by collecting a winner's medal in Madrid a year later.
CAM. Hakim Ziyech 🇲🇦 (Ajax Amsterdam)
There are not many better left feet in the whole of Europe. Moroccan star Ziyech stunned the world with his tally of 19 goals & 15 assists across all competitions this season, and he was the driving creative force behind Ajax's amazing run to the Champions League final. It's unlikely that he will be at the Dutch club next season, with offers for his services streaming in from all quarters. But no one will ever forget his silky combinations with fellow left-footer Dusan Tadic and that improvised strike against Spurs after another typically flowing Ajax team move.
LW. Sadio Mané 🇸🇳 (Liverpool)
Arguably Liverpool's most important attacker this season, Senegalese star Mane has knitted it all together in 2018/2019 and become the complete package. Often a lack of consistency would be one criticism levelled at the wide man, but his 22 goals this season have earned him the Golden Boot in England and the respect of many defenders.
CF. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 🇬🇦 (Arsenal)
Arsenal's goal machine continues to produce outstanding numbers season on season. After swapping the Bundesliga for the English Premier League, Gabon's favourite son continues to find the back of the net with impressive regularity. He has notched 30 or more goals across all competitions in three of the last four seasons; he fell short of that mark with 27 goals in 2017/2018, a poor return by his ridiculous standards.
Substitutes bench ⚽️
- Carlos Kameni 🇨🇲
- Idrissa Gueye 🇸🇳
- Nicolas Pépé 🇨🇮
- Ismaila Sarr 🇸🇳
- Victor Wanyama 🇰🇪
- Gervinho 🇨🇮
- Wilfried Zaha 🇨🇮