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Top 6 Ghanaian footballers who had the potential to win the Ballon d’Or

Pulse Sports brings you a list of six talented Ghanaian footballers who had the potential to win the Ballon d’Or…

The Ballon d’Or is undoubtedly one of, if not the most, prestigious individual awards in world football and is given to the player to have distinguished himself in a calendar year.

It is, therefore, every player’s dream to one day lift such a coveted award, which has been dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the last decade.

Ronaldo has won it five times while Messi has now extended his record to an impressive seven wins following his latest triumph in Paris.

Although no Ghanaian footballer has ever won the Ballon d’Or, the country has produced some brilliant players – past and present.

Pulse Sports takes a look at six Ghanaian players who could have won the award in their prime.

6. Asamoah Gyan

Asamoah Gyan’s name is boldly immortalised in Ghanaian and African football folklore. The striker stands as Ghana’s all-time top scorer with 51 goals and Africa’s all-time top scorer at the FIFA World Cup with six goals.

Gyan enjoyed his most productive year in 2010 when he played a key role as Ghana reached the final of the AFCON. He was again instrumental as the Black Stars reached the quarter-final of the World Cup in South Africa.

He may not have played for some of the elite teams in Europe, but Gyan made his mark in the Premier League when he joined Sunderland, scoring a memorable goal against Chelsea. In 2010, he was voted BBC African Footballer of the Year, and has been named in CAF’s team of the year three times.

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5. Tony Yeboah

At the height of his powers, Tony Yeboah, nicknamed Yegoala, was one of the most feared strikers in Europe. His stints at Eintracht Frankfurt and Hamburg SV saw him score goals at will, gaining popularity and admiration. Yeboah was twice the top scorer in the German Bundesliga (1993 and 1994), a rare achievement for a black man.

He was second in the African Player of the Year award in 1993, placing ninth on FIFA’s World Player of the Year list in the same year. He was also player of the Year at Leeds United in 1996.

4. C.K Gyamfi

Many people know C.K Gyamfi as the legendary coach who led Ghana to three of its four Africa Cup of Nations titles, but some are oblivious of the fact that he was an exceptional player during his hey days.

In 1960, he became the first African to sign a professional contract in Germany when he was unveiled by Fortuna Dusseldorf. He became a club idol at the German club, with his skills and goals earning him the nickname ‘Tunda Vita’ (Thunder Weather)

Before moving to Europe, C.K played for both Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak – Ghana’s two biggest clubs, and excelled, earning an iconic status across both institutions – a rare achievement.

He also captained the Black Stars from 1958 to 1960, winning the 1959 Jalco Cup and the West Africa Gold Cup. He was a member of the Gold Coast national team that toured the United Kingdom in 1951 and was named the Gold Coast’s first Sportsman of the Year in 1953.

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CK Gyamfi was hailed by the Daily Graphic, Ghana’s oldest newspaper, as “Ghana’s greatest footballer” in 1960.

3. Samuel Osei Kuffour

Sammy Kuffour spent 12 years at Bayern Munich, where he became a high-profile defender and a cult hero. He won six Bundesliga titles and four DFB Pokals, capping it with the UEFA Champions League and Intercontinental Cup in 2001. That same year, he was named BBC African Footballer of the Year.

While Kuffuor didn’t win any major honours with Ghana’s senior team, he was an U-17 World Cup winner in 1991, an Olympic Bronze medallist in 1992, as well as a silver medallist in both the U-17 and U-20 World Cups in 1993.

2. Michael Essien

The midfield dynamo had an impressive career in Europe, starting out at Bastia and then Lyon, where he was integral as the club won back to back titles (He was the Ligue 1 Player of the Year in his last season).

His £24.4 million transfer to Chelsea made him the most expensive African footballer at the time. At Chelsea, Essien won it all – the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and the Champions League, even winning the BBC African Footballer of the Year award in 2006.

For his country, Essien was a key player in qualifying Ghana’s national team, the Black Stars, for its first FIFA World Cup in 2006. Essien was also a lynchpin of the Black Satellites side that won silver at the 2001 World Youth Championship.

1. Abedi Pele

Perhaps no Ghanaian player reached higher heights in Europe than Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew. His five years spent at Marseille (1997 to 1993) saw him become one of Europe’s best footballers.

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He won three league titles and reached the final of the European Cup (UEFA Champions League) twice, losing in 1991 and winning in 1993. During this time, Abedi won the Africa Player of the Year award three consecutive times from 1991 to 1993, the BBC version in 1991, and the Golden Ball at the 1992 Africa Cup of Nations, where he captained Ghana to second place.

Ten years earlier, as an 18-year-old, he had been a part of the Ghana team that had won the Africa Cup of Nations in Libya. The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) named him third on its list of Africa’s greatest players of the 20th century.

 

 

–Pulse Ghana–

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