8 Things You Didn’t Know About Footballer Benni McCarthy

By Carri Wilbanks and Peter Pedroncelli AFKI Original Published: April 26, 2016, 10:42 am
Benni McCarthy with Bafana BafanaBenni McCarthy with Bafana Bafana - kickoff.com

Benni McCarthy played for seven football clubs in five countries during a glittering career that saw him become a South African football legend.

With time spent as a professional footballer at Celta Vigo, Porto, the Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United, and a number of records to his name, he retired from football in June 2013 as one of the best players to emerge from South Africa.

Here are 8 things you didn’t know about Benni McCarthy.

Sources: CityPress.co.za, Iol.co.za, Ball72.com, Zapiro.com, You.co.za, NutmegRadion.com

Benni McCarthy won the Champions League with Porto

Benni McCarthy won the Champions League with Porto – soccerladuma.co.za

UEFA Champions League winner

McCarthy won the Champions League in 2004, when his Portuguese club defeated French side Monaco 3-0 in the final. Goals from Carlos Alberto, Deco and Dmitri Alenichev allowed the blue and white side to defeat the team from the principality in Germany. McCarthy joined the action when coach Jose Mouringo sent him on as a 78th minute substitute, allowing him to celebrate with his team-mates on the pitch at the final whistle.

Benni McCarthy with Bafana Bafana

Benni McCarthy with Bafana Bafana – kickoff.com

Top scorer for Bafana Bafana

Former Porto, Ajax, Celta Vigo and Blackburn Rovers striker Benni McCarthy remains the national team’s all time leading goal scorer thanks to the 32 goals he had to his name before retiring from international football. He represented Bafana from 1997 until 2012, amassing 80 caps during that time and scoring a number of excellent goals amongst the 32.

Jose Mourinho (Image: commons.wikimedia.org)

McCarthy played under Jose Mourinho at Porto (Image: commons.wikimedia.org)

Most Successful Season

Benni McCarthy had many successful seasons during his career, but his most successful season was playing with Porto for famous coach Jose Mourinho. During this season, he managed to score an unbelievable 20 goals in just 23 games, and his efforts earned him the coveted Golden Boot Award.


McCarthy scored four against Namibia – wikipedia.org

Four Goals In One Match

With a slow start scoring in the world of professional football, some may be wondering how Benni McCarthy managed to become a South African record holder (as well as the top goal scorer ever for Bafana Bafana). In one particular match, he managed to accumulate four goals — in 1998 in a match against Namibia — more than proving his merit as an attacking footballer.

Benni McCarthy

Benni McCarthy of Orlando Pirates – ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Multiple titles, multiple continents

In May 2012, McCarthy scored two crucial goals which led to Orlando Pirates winning the PSL title in South Africa. Previous to that, the striker won league championships with Ajax Amsterdam in the Netherlands and FC Porto in Portugal), allowing him to become the first footballer from South Africa to win three league titles as part of three teams located on two continents.


SA record holder on many fronts – wikipedia.org

Most expensive transfer

McCarthy’s skills were recognized early on which made him highly sought after by many teams. In 2006 Blackburn Rovers paid £2.5 million for his services. What many people don’t know, however, is that prior to this he had already made transfer history. After the 1998-1999 season, the Spanish team Celta Vigo bought him for more than €6 million, which at the time was the most expensive transfer ever for a player from South Africa.

Benni McCarthy has a love for music

Benni McCarthy has a love for music – all4women.co.za

Musical Career

While Benni McCarthy is primarily a footballer, he has had other claims to fame over the years. One of these was when he appeared in the video for the song “Shibobo” from TKZee, a musical group in the kwaito style. This style is a mix of house and hip-hop with South African influences.


Stacey Munro and Benni McCarthy – soccerladuma.com

He married a model

McCarthy is married to Scottish model Stacey Munro. Together the couple already had one child together before marriage, but that was McCarthy’s fourth child. Munro is McCarthy’s second wife; he was previously married to a Spanish woman named Maria Jose-Santos.

Sign up for the AFKInsider newsletter — the most compelling business news you need to know from Africa and the African diaspora, delivered straight to your inbox.

Tags: , ,
  • mdakama

    Unfortunately you forgot to mention a few of Benni McCarthy’s short comings.. For example, West Ham United sacked him, claiming that he was too fat. He was given time to get back in shape but he failed. It was so bad that West Ham didn’t wait for his contract to end, but paid him to leave early!

    • Terror29

      u are a hater my friend… benni is one of the greatest african players in history… and by the way no one said he was perfect… so keep your lousy comments for yourself please

      • mdakama

        How does the word “hate” come in for telling the truth? What you call my lousy comments isn’t my imagination but something which happened. Yes,, Benni McCarthy was a great footballer, but as you agree, he was not perfect. Please learn to accept praise and criticism in equal measures, without trying to sweep the criticism under the carpet.

        • harold najashi

          we’ll this article was about his football not his weight. get over it. He is the most accomplished South African footballer ever. How many ‘thin’ SA players do you know that have a champions league medal?

    • jayjay

      @mdakama:disqus the article heading reads ’10 Things You Didn’t Know’ so please learn how to count before you share you opinion.

      Things You Didn’t Know About Footballer Benni McCarthy – See more at:

  • terminatorTREVOR

    this article is too much hahahahha

  • @mdakama get a life bra why not look at the good he did, hw cn u expose ur jealosy on web sis

  • Hosea

    Great football player he was and i still respect him and i still ask myself why did he hang his boots so early cause he was still bringing some experience to our local boys

  • B Phore

    Soos hulle in afrikaans sal uitspreek.. ” die goed kry net a groot pyn vir Bennie”. Die wat sommer hulleself “celebs” noem deesdae kan sy skoensole lek.

    Bennie het alles “achieve” wat die pansies in Bafana se kamma sokkerspan graag wil bekom maar hulle het geen idee nie. Solank hulle net kan “tricks” doen is hulle mos “up there”. In my boek “useless”.

    Bennie for S.A. Coach/Manager

  • Mdakana boi u so dumb u knw u shall stop being Jealous