Five of the best Ghanaian footballers of all time

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Ghana has a long history of producing elite-level footballers who enjoy illustrious careers and receive critical acclaim for the beautiful game’s experts.

Black Stars have represented some of European football’s biggest clubs and have won major honours, such as the UEFA Champions League. The following five Ghanaians have global reputations and are among the best footballers of their generation.

Tony Yeboah

Tony Yeboah
Tony Yeboah

Tony Yeboah started his professional career playing for Asante Kotoko in 1981 before moving to Cornerstones Kumasi, then Okwawu United. His former for Okawau United, where he scored 35 goals in 35 games, earned him a transfer to 1. FC Saarbrucken of the German Bundesliga.

Yeboah stayed with Saarbrucken for two years, scoring 26 goals in 65 games before Eintracht Frankfurt acquired the talented striker. After scoring 68 goals in 123 games, Leeds United of the English Premier League paid £3.4 million to bring Yeboah to England.

Yeboah became a cult hero at Leeds United thanks to his ability to score spectacular goals. He was a regular favorite with to win the goal of the month award, and his amazing strike against Wimbledon during the 1995-96 season earned him the Goal of the Season award.

Injuries limited Yeboah to only 47 appearances in two years, although he still scored 24 goals. He then played 100 games, scoring 28 goals, for German side Hamburger SV, before ending his playing career with Al-Ittihad in Qatar; he also scored 29 goals in 59 games for the Ghana national team.

Stephen Appiah

Stephen Appiah
Stephen Appiah

Stephen Appiah will always be fondly remembered for captaining the Black Cats during their FIFA World Cup debut in 2006 and 2010. The midfielder started playing as a striker for Hearts of Oak but is best known for his successful career in Italy’s Serie A. Appiah played for Udinese, Parma, Brescia, Juventus, Bologna, and Cesena. However, he had three years with Turkish giants Fenerbache.

Knee injuries limited Appiah to only 27 games in the final three years of his career, but he goes down in history as a Ghanaian legend.

Samuel Kuffour

Delay and Samuel Kuffour
Delay and Samuel Kuffour

Samuel Kuffour is one of Ghana’s most-decorated footballers, thanks to playing for Bayern Munich for over a decade. He spent 11 seasons with the Bavarian club, playing 277 games and scoring nine goals in all competitions. Kuffour won 14 trophies during his time in Munich. His career after Munich was not as spectacular, but Kuffour is still regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation.

Kuffour played as a central defender for Ghana 54 times and found the back of the net thrice.

Michael Essien

Michael Essien and wife, Akosua Puni
Michael Essien and wife, Akosua Puni

Michael Essien is considered one of the best midfield players of his generation, one that played 545 games during an illustrious career. The tough-tackling midfielder played for French teams Bastia and Lyon during his early career, but he is better known for his time with Premier League outfit Chelsea, who paid £24.4 million for the man from Accra.

While with Chelsea, Essien won the Premier League twice, four FA Cups, the League Cup, and the UEFA Champions League. Essien also played for Real Madrid, AC Milan, and Greek side Panathinaikos before turning out for teams from Indonesia and Azerbaijan and hanging up his boots in 2020.

Thomas Partey

'Thomas Partey
‘Thomas Partey

Thomas Partey is one of the latest in a long line of Ghanaians that has forged a career for himself on the biggest stage. His first game as a professional was for the Spanish side Atletico Madrid B in 2013.

Loan spells at Mallorca and Almeria prepared him for his full Atletico Madrid debut in 2015. Partey played 132 league games for Atletico, scoring 12 goals before Arsenal spent £45 million to trigger Partey’s release clause and bring him to London in 2020.

The former Ghana Player of the Year could become a Premier League champion this season because Arsenal are flying high at the halfway stage of the campaign.

Multiple award-winning entertainment journalist and founding editor at – I have spent over a decade covering entertainment, gossips and lifestyle around the world. Follow me on my official Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages: @davidmawuli