The English Premier League is the most watched football league on the planet with an estimated global audience close to a billion and is home to some of the top African footballers in the world playing the beautiful game today.
As we move into 2011 we take a look at the best three African players to have played in the EPL last year.
3. Emmanuel Adebayor – Manchester City
The Togo international was one of the key players in a Manchester City side that enjoyed their highest ever finish ever in the Premiership in 2010. Last year Adebayor wrote himself into the clubs history books by becoming the first player to ever score a hat-trick for Manchester City in European competition. And although he is now out of favour by manager Roberto Mancini, he has continued to score goals when given the opportunity and remains the second highest goalscorer amongst all the seven strikers currently in the City first team.
2010 is also the year the Togo international announced his retirement from international football following an incident that saw the Togo team bus come under gun fire during the Africa Nations Cup in Angola.
Adebayor also featured as a pundit for the BBC during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
2. Michael Essien – Chelsea
Although The Ghanaian midfielder was out of action for a few months in 2010 following an injury picked up playing for Ghana in the Africa Nations Cup, he still managed to have a relatively successful year.
He was a key player making a significant contribution as part of a title winning Chelsea side even though he was restricted to just under 30 league games last year. His defensive and offensive qualities, energy and physical presence have seen him establish himself as a key member of the Blues midfield since his £24m move from Lyon in 2005 and although never having been a prolific goalscorer he chipped in with 4 in the 2009-2010 season, three of which came in the league in a close campaign that saw the London club win the title by a single point.
Having enjoyed another successful year winning the Premier League and FA Cup Double he was rewarded with a two year extension to his current contract which was due to run out in the summer of 2012.
1. Didier Drogba – Chelsea
The Ivorian hitman enjoyed one of his best years in a Chelsea shirt, scoring 37 goals in the 2009-2010 season on the way to a Cup double success. He became Chelsea’s sixth all time top goal scorer and the African player to have scored the most goals in the Premier League since it’s formation as the Premiership in 1993. Drogba has only been at Chelsea since 2004 following his £24m move from Marseille.
In 2010 Drogba beat an in form Wayne Rooney to the Golden Boot scoring 29 league goals. He scored in the 2010 FA Cup Final and became the only player ever to score in six English Cup Finals.
Away from the field 2010 was also a year that saw Drogba named in Time Magazine’s annual 100 of the World’s Most Influential People and appear on the front cover of the World Cup issues of Vanity Fair and GQ Magazine during the tournament in South Africa.
Who do you think the top three African players where in the English Premier League last year? Leave a comment below.