Naby Keita, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sadio Mane were the three African players named in the Goal 50 2017, but while those three were all deserving of their spots, did some of the continent’s other stars also merit a place in our list of the globe’s top talents?
Many of Africa’s biggest names missed out on our top 50, and according to a recent Goal poll, Victor Moses can been most hard done by with his exclusion.
Last week, we asked readers which of the continent’s overlooked stars were most deserving of a spot in the Goal 50, with Moses overwhelmingly coming out on top.
The Nigeria international received a whopping 67 percent of the votes, comfortably eclipsing the other contenders on the list.
Indeed, it’s easy to see why the Super Eagles superstar has received such backing.
In the summer of 2016, he appeared primed for the exit door at Chelsea, following a series of underwhelming loan deals.
However, he was introduced to the Blues’ starting XI by Antonio Conte following the Pensioners’ 3-0 defeat by Arsenal in the Autumn, and went on to play a key role in the Londoners’ Premier League success.
Not only was Moses the only African star to play a major role for a title-winning team in one of Europe’s five major leagues, but he also featured in an unfamiliar right wing-back role.
His conversion into a new position was just another subplot during a fascinating campaign for the Nigeria international, and Moses deserves immense credit for the way with which he adapted to an unfamiliar brief.
Indeed, over two thirds of those polled believed that the Nigeria international was the most deserving of a Goal 50 spot among the African absentees.
Despite Moses’ magnificent campaign, it was somewhat surprising that he so overwhelmingly crushed his competitors in our poll—not least Egypt’s Mohamed Salah.
The Liverpool forward received an admirable 25 percent of the votes, but might have been expecting more after a superb year.
As well as being one of the star men during the 2017 Nations Cup and the World Cup qualifying programme—when he was decisive as Egypt reached a first Mundial since 1990—he’s also taken to life at Liverpool with ease.
The forward already has nine goals in 12 Premier League outings, and his double against Southampton at the weekend saw him break Robbie Fowler’s record for goals scored at the start of a Liverpool career.
Elsewhere, Eric Bailly was the best of the rest, winning five percent of the votes, and was followed by Jean Seri—two percent—and Keita Balde, with only one percent of respondents believing that he most deserved a spot in the Goal 50.