Liberian football legend and President-elect, George Weah has given credits to his former manager at Monaco, Arsene Wenger for the impact the Frenchman had on his life as a footballer.
Weah is thankful to the Frenchman for helping him to flourish in Europe.
Wenger brought Weah to Europe when he signed him for Monaco from Tonnerre Yaoundé in 1988.
The ex-Liberian international later played for Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan, Chelsea and Manchester City and later returned to France with Marseille.
He won the Ballon d’Or, making him the only African to win the prize.
He also won the UEFA Champions League Top Scorer award, Coupe de France, Ligue1, Coupe de la Ligue, Serie A title, English FA Cup among others.
In all this, Weah appreciated the French tactician for helping him to surpass his own expectations.
Speaking in an interview with the Guardian UK, he said, “When I started playing football, I never thought I would ever win the Ballon d’Or and emerge as the best player in the world.
“I just had a passion for the game and I worked hard. Every day, I would rather train than eat or sleep.
“When I moved to Monte Carlo [to play for Monaco from the Cameroonian club Tonnerre Yaoundé in 1988] I didn’t play for the first six months. But I was determined to showcase my talent, to prove to those back home, who thought that my coming to Europe was a waste of time, that I was a good player.
“He (Wenger) was a father figure and regarded me as his son. This was a man, when racism was at its peak, who showed me love. He wanted me to be on the pitch for him every day.
“One day, I was quite tired of training and told him that I was having a headache.
“He said to me: ‘George, I know it’s tough but you need to work hard. I believe that with your talent, you can become one of the best players in the world.’
“So I listened and kept going on. Besides God, I think that without Arsène, there was no way I would have made it in Europe.”