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Quinton Fortune: First African Footballer to Play for Manchester United

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When it comes to the history of African footballers making their mark in top European clubs, one name that stands out is Quinton Fortune. Born on May 21, 1977, in Cape Town, South Africa, Fortune became the first African footballer to play for Manchester United.

Early Life and Career

Fortune’s journey in football began during his youth career at Tottenham Hotspur, where he honed his skills as a midfielder and left-back. His talent and dedication caught the attention of several clubs, leading him to sign with Mallorca in 1995.

After a brief stint at Mallorca, Fortune moved to Spain to join Atlético Madrid B in 1996. He quickly made an impact and earned a promotion to the senior team. Although his time at Atlético Madrid was relatively short, he showcased his versatility and solid performances.

Manchester United Years

In 1999, Fortune’s career took a significant turn when he signed with Manchester United. The move made him the first African footballer to wear the iconic red jersey. During his time at United, Fortune played as a midfielder and left-back, contributing to the team’s success.

Fortune’s time at Manchester United was filled with memorable moments. He played a crucial role in the team’s success, including winning the Premier League title in the 2000-2001 and 2002-2003 seasons. His versatility and work ethic made him a valuable asset to the club.

Later Career and International Success

After leaving Manchester United in 2006, Fortune went on to play for Bolton Wanderers, Brescia, Tubize, and Doncaster Rovers. Although his later career was not as high-profile as his time at United, Fortune continued to showcase his skills and contribute to his teams.

On the international stage, Fortune represented South Africa from 1996 to 2005. He earned 46 caps and scored two goals for his country. His performances for South Africa further solidified his status as one of the most influential African footballers of his time.


Quinton Fortune’s impact on African football cannot be understated. As the first African footballer to play for Manchester United, he paved the way for future generations of African players to showcase their talents at top European clubs.

His versatility, dedication, and success at United have left a lasting legacy.


Quinton Fortune will always be remembered as a trailblazer in African football.

His achievements at Manchester United and his contributions to the South African national team have solidified his place in football history.

Fortune’s story is an inspiration to aspiring African footballers, proving that hard work and determination can lead to success at the highest level.

This article was updated 3 months ago



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