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The 10 Greatest Senegalese Players Of All Time

© Ace Football

Who is the best of the best in the beautiful game? Take a look as Ace Football explores the greatest Senegalese players in history.

Senegal’s football scene boasts extraordinary talents leaving an indelible mark. From electrifying strikers to solid defenders, the best Senegalese players showcase skills globally. Their impact earns admiration beyond borders, contributing significantly to the sport. Let’s explore the journeys and accomplishments of these football icons proudly representing Senegal internationally.

10. Khalilou Fadiga

Khalilou Fadiga left his mark with a crucial Champions League goal against Arsenal for Auxerre in 2002. In 2003, a €3 million, three-year deal with Inter hit a snag due to a heart rhythm issue found in medical checks, sidelining him from competitive play. For Senegal, he earned 37 caps, scoring four goals. Fadiga’s journey involved a tense African Cup of Nations and 2010 World Cup qualifying match, resulting in elimination. Police had to evacuate him from the field amid upset supporters.

9. Henri Camara

Henri Camara kicked off in the ’90s, playing for teams worldwide until his 2018 retirement. He proudly earned 99 caps representing Senegal, scoring 29 goals. In the 2002 FIFA World Cup, he scored two crucial goals, propelling Senegal to the quarter-finals. Camara’s career highlighted his commitment and exceptional on-field skills.

8. Cheikhou Kouyate

Cheikhou Kouyate excelled in Belgian football, winning the Belgian First Division A four times with Anderlecht. Transitioning to the Premier League with West Ham United in 2014 and later Crystal Palace, he joined Nottingham Forest in 2022. With 88 caps and eight goals for Senegal, Kouyate played a key role in AFCON 2019 and 2022 triumphs, also representing Senegal at the 2022 World Cup.

7. Aliou Cisse

Aliou Cisse played in the 2000-2001 Champions League with PSG and later at Birmingham City and Portsmouth in England. Joining the Senegal national team in 1999, he swiftly became captain, earning 35 caps. Under his leadership, Senegal reached the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals and the 2002 African Cup of Nations final. Two decades later, as a coach, Cisse guided Senegal to an African Cup of Nations victory in 2022. His impact on Senegalese football extends across playing and coaching achievements.

6. Kalidou Koulibaly

Kalidou Koulibaly excelled with Metz, Genk, and Napoli, winning the Belgian Cup and Supercoppa Italiana. The defender has also played for Chelsea and Al-Hilal. A key player for Senegal, with over 70 caps to his name., he has enjoyed great success, including captaining the Lions of Teranga to the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations title.

5. Idrissa Gana Gueye

Idrissa Gana Gueye started with Diambars in Senegal, then played for Lille and Everton before joining Paris Saint-Germain in 2019; he’s now back with Everton. For Senegal, he played in two FIFA World Cups and four Africa Cup of Nations tournaments. In 2020, Gueye reached the UEFA Champions League final with PSG. Setting records, he’s Senegal’s cap king, the first to surpass 100 caps. Gueye’s football journey testifies to his dedication and impact on the international stage.

4. Papa Bouba Diop

Papa Bouba Diop was versatile in defensive midfield and center-back roles. He left his mark in English football, winning the FA Cup with Portsmouth in 2008. His journey extended to Switzerland, France, and Greece, showcasing skills across Europe. With 11 international goals for Senegal, he notably scored in a historic 1-0 victory over France in the opening match of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Representing Senegal in four Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, he achieved runner-up status in 2002. Papa Bouba Diop remains a key figure in Senegalese football history.

3. Jules Bocande

Jules Bocande, a West African football legend, earned CAF’s title in 2009. Starting in Senegal, he found success in France with Metz, Paris Saint-Germain, and Nice. As one of the greatest Senegalese players ever, the former striker was a regular in the national team, scoring 20 goals in 73 games. He represented the Lions of Teranga in the Africa Cup of Nations and FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

2. El Hadji Diouf

El Hadji Diouf excelled in football, notably with Liverpool, Bolton Wanderers, and Sunderland. A key player for Senegal, he showcased his skills in major tournaments like the Africa Cup of Nations and the FIFA World Cup. Diouf played a crucial role in Senegal’s 2002 World Cup quarter-final feat. With 24 goals in 70 caps for his nation, he left a significant impact. Known for both his football prowess and occasional controversies, El Hadji Diouf remains a prominent figure in Senegalese football history.

1. Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane tops our list of the best Senegalese players of all time. His pace, technical ability, and scoring ability make him one of Africa’s finest talents. The winger has enjoyed a glorious club career, winning both the Premier League and Champions League titles at Liverpool. He has also shined for Senegal, with 40 goals in over 100 caps. He played a vital role in the Lions of Teranga’s 2021 AFCON success, scoring the winning penalty in the final against Egypt.