Who does not remember the rampaging runs of George Weah during his days at AC Milan? Who was not entranced by his mazy dribbles at Parc des Princes when he played for Paris Saint-Germain? There is no doubt that the Liberian forward was one of the games truly extraordinary talents.After calling time on his career, which featured spells in France, Italy and England, in 2002, the striker became the spiritual leader of an entire nation. In a video interview recorded exclusively for FIFA.com, Weah describes his role as one of the assistants at the preliminary draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and looks back on his remarkable career. Here are some extracts from the interview.
FIFA.com: George, what are your feelings as you look
forward to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the first to be staged in
George Weah: Like all Africans, my feelings are very strong ones. We have to thank FIFA for offering such a major event to Africa. The entire continent is excited about it. We are all fully behind South Africa. And for me personally it is an immense privilege to be taking part in the draw.
You are one of a number of great players who never
had a chance to play at the FIFA World Cup. Is that a big
That's just the way it is. There is no point in having regrets or feeling sad about it. I am very fortunate to have had the career I did. I have a great respect for the competition and even more for all those players who have played in it. It is no easy thing to qualify for the FIFA World Cup. I only hope that one day Liberia will have the honour of doing so.
Your country, Liberia, only just missed out on
qualification for the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan.
It was a very sad moment in the history of the national team. In our crucial penultimate match at home to Ghana we lost 2-1 and ended up finishing a point behind Nigeria. I was disappointed for my country more than for myself. Our little nation had come so close to realising a dream. But I believe that we gave our best, so there is no cause to harbour regrets.
Apart from that one blip, your career was in every
way exceptional. What memories do you cherish?
Above all I would like to be remembered for the person I am, and not what I did as a player. I would like to thank all of those who helped me become what I was. Whether it was their advice or their encouragement, those are the people who helped make me the man that I am today. I want also to thank the players who I played along side and those who I played against. They helped me to progress. Football is a real family, and I count all of them as my friends. Without other people, you are nobody.
What is your favourite memory of all?
Without any doubt being named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1995. That was an exceptional year. Everything came together for me and I won almost all the individual awards available.
You scored lots of goals. Is there one that you
remember above all the others?
I don't need to think too hard about that one: it would be a goal that I scored for AC Milan against Verona at the San Siro in 1996 (from a Verona corner, Weah won the ball in the Milan penalty area before advancing the entire length of the pitch and scoring). That goal had everything: technique, speed and precision; and every single one of my manoeuvres in the build-up was deliberate...
To see the complete FIFA.com video interview with George Weah, click on the link to the right.