The fairy-tale rags to riches life story of football star and now president George Weah is an inspiration.
Weah, 54, will take office in the presidential palace on January 22 after winning almost two-thirds of the vote in a run-off against incumbent vice-president Joseph Boakai.
In 1995, in his previous life as a professional footballer, George Weah is the only African to win the coveted title of FIFA World Player of the Year and the Balloon d’Or prize for the top scorer in European club football.
He was also voted African Player of the Year in 1989, 1994 and 1995.
Weah’s football career started in Liberia, but his talent and exploits soon attracted the attention of then Monaco manager Arsene Wenger, now at Arsenal in London.
His glittering career took him to many top clubs, including AC Milan in Italy, Paris St Germain and Manchester City in England.
In 411 appearances, he scored 193 goals – a strike rate of almost one goal in every two matches.
Weah also had a successful international career as a player, even though the Liberian team failed to make a mark in any championships. Between 1987 and 2003, he won 60 caps and scored 22 goals.
Long-time friend Wenger has been invited to Weah’s inauguration.
“The life of this guy is a real film. It is unbelievable. It can make a fantastic film,” said Wenger.
“I remember when I saw him the first time at Monaco, coming in a bit lost, not knowing anybody, not being rated by anybody as a player and becoming the best player in the world in 1995 and today becoming the president of his country.
“I went with George during the period when there was war in Liberia and I have seen how much he suffered for his country.
“That was the thing which was continuous in his country, the love for his country and for his people.
“Today when I look back I see him crying when war was on in Liberia so it’s a happy story.”
Weah has also worked as a United Nations goodwill ambassador while campaigning to win the presidency in Liberia.