Several formidable Ghanaian midfielders have made their mark in football at both club and international level, but who is the best of the pack? Ace Football takes a look.
Forwards score goals and defenders keep clean sheets, but midfielders are the ones who pull the strings. They’re at the center of everything in games, covering the most distance and holding more possession.
Many times across football history, a midfielder has played a pivotal in a team’s success – as Ghana can attest.
So out of all the fine midfield maestros to emerge from the West African nation, who is the best? Ace Football has a go by naming and profiling the top five Ghanaian midfielders ever.
The two-time Ghana Footballer of the Year spent the bulk of his club career in Italy, starring for clubs such as Juventus and Udinese. He won two domestic cups and played in the Champions League, while also experiencing Turkish Super Lig glory with Fenerbahce.
At international level, Stephen Appiah won 67 caps for the Ghana national team. The Accra-born star skippered the Black Stars in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, helping them progress into the knockouts. He also made the All-Star teams in the 2004 Olympics and the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations.
Topping the list of Ghanaian midfielders to make the most appearances in international football is Sulley Muntari. He won 84 caps and featured at three World Cups in 2006, 2010, and 2014.
The 37-year-old also boasted a successful club career in Europe. His biggest success was in Italy, specifically with Inter. He won eight titles with the Nerazzurri, including a famous treble in 2010.
The former Udinese and AC Milan star also helped English side Portsmouth famously win the FA Cup in 2008.
Karim Abdul Razak
The one-time AFCON winner, nicknamed ‘The Golden Boy’, became only the second Ghanaian to win the African Footballer of the Year in 1978, four years after Ibrahim Sunday’s triumph.
Karim Abdul Razak also played alongside World Cup winners Franz Beckenbauer and Carlos Alberto between 1979 and 1981 at New York Cosmos in the United States.
The former Asante Kotoko midfielder won 70 caps for Ghana and was listed amongst the Confederation of African Football’s 30 greatest players in 2007. The IFFHS also named him as one of Africa’s greatest footballers of the 20th century.
The former Chelsea and Real Madrid star won four league crowns and seven domestic cups in Europe, including the Champions League in 2012.
Michael Essien was renowned for his versatility, energy, and aggression in games. His performances made him key for club and country, winning him Ghana’s Player of the Year in 2008.
A series of injuries, though, took their toll and forced Essien to miss events such as the 2010 World Cup.
Topping our list of Ghanaian midfielders is Abedi Ayew, who was known as ‘Abedi Pele’ for his similarities with the Brazilian legend Pele.
The three-time African Footballer of the Year had an impressive club and international career. He won the Champions League and two Ligue 1 titles in France, even finishing ninth in the 1992 FIFA World Player of the Year rankings.
The IFFHS has also acknowledged the former Marseille and Lille midfielder as the third greatest African player of the 20th century.