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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 August, 2003, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
Weah ready to retire
George Weah playing for the Lone Star
Weah wants to help rebuild Liberia
George Weah has revealed to BBC Sport that he plans to retire from competitive football next year.

The Liberian legend, who is the only player ever to be named, World, European and African Footballer of the Year in the same year, 1995, wants to spend more time with his family.

Nick-named 'King George', Weah has spent the last two years in the United Arab Emirates playing for the Al Jazirah club.

I realise I want to spend more time with my family
George Weah
He scored 15 goals for them last season and plans to see out his contract until June 2004 before hanging up his boots.

He spent the off season with his family in the United States which helped him make decisions about his future.

"Spending more time with my family made me realise how important it is for me to be around them more often," Weah told BBC Sport.

"It has been difficult being away for two years and not seeing enough of my children, I realise now I want to be with them."

Weah also admitted that he wanted to spend time helping to rebuild his homeland following the recent uprising and departure of president Charles Taylor.

"It has been difficult being away during a period of such turmoil," he said.

The 37-year-old had his house in Monrovia burnt down during the fighting and had reportedly been threatened with his life if he returned home.

He now plans to take part in peace talks in Ghana aimed at rebuilding the war-torn nation.

Father's footsteps

Weah's decision to be nearer his family also took on increased impetus recently when his eldest son, Champion, was asked to trial for AC Milan.

The 16-year-old has now signed a four-year deal with the Italian giants, which his father helped complete.

Weah Junior will have plenty to live up to in Milan - his father spent five years there from 1995 - 2000 and won two Italian league titles.

He also won two French league titles and two French Cup titles during his three year stint with Paris St Germain.

Weah first moved to Europe in 1989, signing a four-year deal with Monaco.

After highly successful years with PSG and AC Miland he had short stints with Chelsea and Manchester City in the English Premiership and spent a season at Marseille before being lured to the Middle East.

He said that once he can help rebuild the infrastructure of Liberia he also hopes to rebuild the country's flagging football fortunes.

That is expected to include the establishment of a footballing academy near Monrovia.

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30 Jul 03  |  African
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21 Jun 03  |  African
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27 Aug 02  |  Africa
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15 Sep 02  |  Africans abroad

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