Former Ghana international, Derek Boateng has named his ultimate role models in an exclusive interview with goal.com
The Ex-Blacks Stars midfielder picked three African footballing greats; Liberia’s George Weah, Nigeria’s Austin Okocha, and Ghana legend Abedi Ayew ‘Pele’ as players he looked up to during his playing career.
Having featured for the youth setup of Ghana premier league side Liberty Professionals, the midfielder went on to play for a host of clubs across Europe.
“Abedi Pele was the man I was looking up to. I had the chance to meet him during my career as a young player, got some advice from him, sometimes I call him or will go and visit him and we talk.” He told Goal.
“He’s the player I have always looked up to. He’s done a lot for the nation. Even now when you go somewhere and say you are from Ghana, people still mention his name. For me, he’s a legend”.
“Outside Ghana, I looked to Jay-Jay Okocha, another great player. But my [topmost] guy is Abedi Pele. I admired George Weah too.” Derek Boateng is quoted.
Despite strong admiration for now president of Liberia George Weah, the former Fulham player maintained that Abedi Pele remains the greatest.
“I would say Abedi Pele [is the greatest African of all-time],”
“That’s what I believe and know and I would never change it. George Weah is among the top guys as he won the World Best Player award but for me, Abedi is the best.” Boateng said.
George Weah was named FIFA World Best Player in 1995 and remains the only African to have won the award. He also won the African Player of the Year award on three occasions, featuring for a host of clubs including Monaco, PSG, and AC Milan.
Ghana’s Abedi Pele won the African Player of the Year three times, claimed the UEFA Champions League with Marseille and led Ghana to glory in the 1982 African Cup of Nations.
Regarded as one of the most skilful footballers to have emerged from the continent, Austin ‘Jay-Jay’ Okocha played for French top side PSG as well as Bolton Wanderers in the English Premier League.
He was part of Nigeria’s team that won AFCON in 1994 and the Olympic Games two years later.