If Juventus fails, who’s the next African to win the Champions League?

Candidates include Moses, Bailly, Mane

HARRISON, NJ - JULY 22: Victor Moses #20 of the Chelsea takes the ball in the first half against the New York Red Bulls during the International Champions Cup at Red Bull Arena on July 22, 2015 in Harrison, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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With the Champions League final approaching, some people are trying to guess who will be the next African to win the title. An African has not held the title since 2012, when Ivorians Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou, Ghanaian Michael Essien and Nigerian John Obi Mikel were all on the Chelsea club that won the Champions League that year. This year, Ghanaian Kwadwo Asamoah and Gabonese Mario Lemina are on one side of the final, representing Juventus. On the other side is the overwhelming favorite Real Madrid, which does not have an African national on their roster. If Juventus fails to pull off the upset, the odds for the next African are spread across several clubs.

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One candidate to make the final next year is Chelsea, which was excellent in this year’s Premier League-winning campaign. Admittedly, Antonio Conte has historically not done well in coaching his club through cup competitions, but this successful season may spark a shift. On Chelsea, Victor Moses of Nigeria is the leader to make the Champions League roster at right wing-back. Also in the running is Bertrand Traore of Burkina Faso, who was on loan to Ajax this season and did well in his time with the Dutch club.

While Chelsea is the favorite from the Premier League to get far in the Champions League, there are other candidates from the three other Premier League teams in the league. Ivorian Eric Bailly had an excellent first season with Manchester United, and is expected to be a part of their Champions League roster. Senegalese Sadio Mane on Liverpool is an outside shot to compete as well. Manchester City is still being coached by Pep Guardiola, and he can never be counted out in continental competition, but the fates of Nigerian Kelechi Iheanacho and Ivorian Yaya Toure are unclear to affirm that they will still be around by the time the next Champions League season rolls around.


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