Roger Milla, the best African player in history

Roger Milla, the best African player in history
This dance next to the corner flag was one of the images of the World Cup in Italy 90.

If we say the name of Roger Miller, many think that is an NBA player. Even, the most fragile memory may be confused with the great Pacers guard Reggie Miller's Indiana. However, If we say that its name refers to a footballer, will be those who think that this is a player who has gone through more pain than glory for playgrounds. Nothing is further from reality, Roger Miller, He refers to the best African player in history. Nicknamed Roger Milla (to have a name with more African flavor), This is Cameroonian, definitely, one of the most important emblems and banners soccer “Dark Continent”.

Milla was elected in 1990 best player in the history of Africa
Roger Milla was elected in 1990 best player in the history of Africa.

Yours, like most of his fellow Africans, It was never an easy life. Born in 1952 in the capital , Yaoundé, his career is one of those used to write a book. Five years, it was able to tame the ball on the always dangerous areas of land in the capital. With 14 joining the first major team career, Ben Eclair Douala where he remained for five until with 19 Springs was hired by Léopards Douala.

First steps of a long sporting life which serve to demonstrate the qualities of this great talent: speed pure, goal, art and Magic. Of course, all it surrounded by a charismatic character that made him be remembered wherever he went. Virtues that would lead to being signed for Tonnerre Yaoundé, in 1974. Would be, precisely, in this last set which begin to highlight internationally, partly to become instrumental in the success of his team in achieving two Recopas Africa, in part by winning the African Golden Ball barely 24 years.

Excellent at auction, in electrical rhythm changes, new “Skin” (like many they dubbed him), he soon arouse the interest of European football in general, and the French in particular. Would be, precisely the Valenciannes, the Gallic box would achieve take the upper hand and taking the services of a player who was already able to 1976 to defend the flag “The Indomitable Lions”.

Passing through France would not be all fruitful than expected, especially in the first two years. A new country, a new culture and peers who had another model of understanding football caused him or his season in the Valenciannes, or his year in AS Monaco surrendered to the usual level at.

It should be his third team in France, Bastia which finally managed to find a way to pay the 100% the Cameroonian. In Bastia, yes, footballer that he would be full, dynamite up I was able to overcome opponents with equal ease to score goals. Only thus justify their 35 targets in 113 encounters with the elastic Bastia.

Convened by Cameroon to play the World 1982, where he would contest three games, unsuccessfully in any of them (three draws), in part by

The famous Milla goal Higuita in Italy 90.
The famous Milla goal Higuita in Italy 90.

adverse arbitration proceedings which received its selection, su paso al Saint-Étienne in 1984 would mark a before and after in his career. And it is yes, Milla said something, It was to improve over the years.

In the historic Saint-Etienne, It would be the best of 9 Cameroun. Able to ascend the team to the French first division and an impressive success in front of goal, his extraordinary role would open the door to Montpellier, which he would end his football career in Europe won the hearts of the followers of the team. A great epilogue to a career that had seen him crowned champions of Africa Cup 1984 Y 1988, this last year, retirement season with selection.

Maybe in the early 90

Of course no one could foretell what was the end of a long sporting life, It was really just the beginning. In 1990, with the World Cup in Italy 90 just around the corner, a call from the President of Cameroon to Reunion Island where he was enjoying his retirement he would change the fate.

With 38 years, It is sure to dispute the World Cup which was to have an outstanding performance. Substitute in the five games played, definitely, Milla, he would become the hero of an entire country, when he would score two goals in the victory of his team to Colombia in the second round (one of them, after taking advantage of a failure of wanting to haggle Higuita who defined with a phrase for history “He did regatearme. A Milla did not haggle anyone”). Revulsivo in the attack in the second period, dances in the pennant celebrating late goals are a classic in the history of the final stages of the World Championships.

The icing on 1994

Although it would be 1994 the finishing touch to his career. With 42 years and retired from the fields, again a call from the coach would lead him to become the first African to play in three World Cups and the oldest player to score a goal in the finals ( in the famous 6-1 Russia to Cameroon with five goals from Oleg Salenko). The grand finale to a dream career for a player who will always be among the best in history.

Julio Muñoz

Julio Muñoz

Journalist, specialist in international football and retro. I write in and you can follow me at @ juliomv1982


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