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Top 5 African players in MLS history

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Let’s take a look at the best African players to have played in the Major League Soccer.

Major League Soccer has taken significant steps toward securing its place among the world’s best football competitions. More and more foreign players have kick-started their MLS careers in recent seasons.

Let’s check out the most successful African stars to have played in MLS.

5- Didier Drogba

One of the greatest African strikers of all time, Drogba joined Montreal after leaving Chelsea in 2015.

The Champions League winner went on to score 40 goals in his 67 MLS appearances. Having played for Montreal and Arizona United, the Chelsea legend retired after moving to Phoenix Rising in 2018.

4- Obafemi Martins

Martins spent only three seasons at MLS but left his mark as one of the most influential African players to have graced the league.

The Nigeria great moved to Seattle after finishing his short spell at Levante. He soon became the club’s first-ever player to score 17 goals in one campaign.

His performances were enough to earn him a top-three spot in the 2014 MLS MVP awards. Martins also secured a place in that season’s Best XI.

3- Mamadou Diallo

Diallo was one of those players who never broke into Europe’s elite leagues despite his incredible quality.

Following spells in Morocco and Norway, the Senegalese star joined Tampa Bay in 2000. He spent an incredible debut season, becoming the league’s top-scorer with 26 goals.

Diallo’s brilliant performances earned him a spot in the league’s Best XI that season. However, Tony Meola won the league’s MVP award ahead of him at the end of the campaign.

After moves to New England Revolution and MetroStars, Diallo left the North American league to join Saudi Arabian side Al Ahli in 2002.

2- Fanendo Adi

Adi is not as famous as Martins in Nigeria, but he is one of the best players to have ever played in MLS.

The versatile forward joined Portland Timbers in 2014 and remained in MLS until 2022. Adi played a crucial role in Timbers’ first-ever MLS triumph in 2015.

During his time at the Portland side, Adi became the club’s all-time top-scorer in MLS with 54 goals. His record, however, was broken by Diego Valeri a few seasons later.

A move to FC Cincinnati was the start of many problems that prevented Adi from reaching the same level after leaving Portland. Having also played for Minnesota and Columbus, the striker has been a free agent since January 2022.

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1- Kei Kamara

Kamara is the best African player to have starred in MLS. The Sierra-Leone born forward moved to the US with his family when he was 16.

Except for loan moves to Norwich and Middlesbrough, Kamara has spent his entire career in the Major League Soccer. He has played for eight different MLS teams in his career, establishing his place among the league’s all-time top-scorers.

By the time of writing, Kamara has scored 132 goals, seeing only Jaime Moreno, Jeff Cunningham, London Donovan, and Chris Chris Wondolowski ahead of him in MLS’ goalscoring charts.

Kamara won the MLS title with Kansas City in 2013 before joining Norwich and Middlesbrough on short loan spells.

Upon returning to Kansa, he spent the best season of his career, winning the league’s top-scorer prize with 22 goals. He also earned a spot in the MLS Best XI that season.