Samuel Eto’o, 29 (Cameroon)
The Cameroon captain might have failed to help his country go beyond the first round of the World Cup, but he has been outstanding at club level.
The striker helped Inter Milan win the Serie A and Champions League double and the Italian Cup, but could not help the Indomitable Lions, who flopped at the African Nations Cup and the World Cup.
After his move from Barcelona to the Italian giants, Eto’o rediscovered his scoring form by banging in 16 goals in all competitions at Inter.
In May, Eto’o played in the third Champions League final of his career, and with Inter’s triumph over Bayern Munich, he became the only player to win the treble in consecutive seasons.
Then in August he scored twice as Inter beat AS Roma 3–1 to win the Italian Super Cup.
He won the Player of the Year award three times in 2003/4/5.
Asamoah Gyan, 25, (Ghana)
Though best remembered for missing the penalty that struck the crossbar in the dying seconds of extra time against Uruguay, which would have given Ghana and Africa its maiden appearance in the World Cup semi-finals, Gyan was the sole reason the Black Stars were the best African team in the tournament.
Gyan scored in Ghana’s games against Serbia and Australia to reach the last 16 round and also against USA to reach that eventful quarterfinal against Uruguay.
His good performance in the World Cup did not go unnoticed as manager Steve Bruce bought him for approximately £13 million (about R130 million), breaking Sunderland’s transfer fee record.
Earlier in the year Gyan helped the injury-ravaged Black Stars to reach the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, scoring three of the four goals they netted in the tournament.
Didier Drogba, 32 (Ivory Coast)
The reigning player of the year inspired Chelsea to win the Premier League by scoring a hat-trick in an 8–0 win over Wigan Athletic.
In doing so, he not only collected his third Barclays Premier League winner’s medal, but also won the Golden Boot for the season, the second time he has won it, by topping the charts with 29 league goals and beating Wayne Rooney, who got 26 goals, to the title.
In March this year, Drogba was named the 2009 Caf Player of the Year, the second time he has won the award in his career.
However, the Elephants’ skipper endured a disappointing Nations Cup in Angola where he scored only one goal against Ghana and they were knocked out by Algeria in the quarterfinals.
It was the same in the World Cup when he could not help his country to proceed to the knockout stages.
Drogba left with only a single goal against Brazil to his credit.