Ahead of the all-Spanish final of the Uefa Champions League to be contested by Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at the San Siro on Saturday evening, Pulse Sports' Isaac Darko pofiles the five Ghanaians who have claimed the ultimate honour from Europe’s premier club football competition and evaluates their individual contributions to the victorious campaigns enjoyed by the sides they achieved those triumphs with.
Abedi Ayew Pele (Marseille 1992/93)
Abedi Ayew Pele was influential and played a key role during Marseille’s UEFA Champions League final 1-0 win over AC Milan in 1993.
The former Ghana skipper mainly played behind striker Basile Boli or on the left wing for Marseille and in the Champions League final against AC Milan, he delivered a left-footed corner which led to the only goal of the match, which was scored by Basile Boli.
He was also named Man of the Match for his overall contribution during the game.
Ibrahim Tanko (Borussia Dortmund 1996/97)
The last time Dortmund contested the final of the Champions League, they won, and with a Ghanaian - ex-King Faisal player Ibrahim Tanko - in their ranks. Granted, Tanko played a severely limited part in the realisation of that triumph, but probably only due to a bout of injuries that plagued him throughout his career. The striker made just three appearances in Dortmund’s quest and failed to even make coach Ottmar Hitzfield’s team for the final. Still, Tanko received a winner’s medal for his troubles courtesy a 3-1 win for Die Schwarzgelben over Italy’s Juventus, thus earning his place on this list.
Samuel Osei Kuffour (Bayern Munich 2000/01)
Samuel Osei Kuffour played the full duration of the game as the Bavarians defeated Spanish side Valencia 5-4 on penalties in the 2000/01 Champions League final after the match had ended in a 1-1 draw.
The Ghanaian played in another final during the 1998/99 season but this time Bayern lost 2-1 to Manchester United.
Sulley Ali Muntari (Inter Milan 2009/10)
Sulley Ali Muntari was one of the important elements in Jose Mourinho’s successful Champions League winning season with the Italians in 2010, adding steel to their midfield and providing them with an additional attacking option on the counter attack.
The Ghana international made a cameo appearance in the 2009/10 Champions League final at the Santiago Bernabeu but that might have had little impact on a game already wrapped up 2-0 by the time he joined courtesy of two goals by Diego Milito.
Muntari would go on to join their city rivals AC Milan in 2012, but has fond memories of Inter’s 2-0 defeat of Bayern Munich in that 2010 final thanks to a double from Diego Milito.
Michael Essien (Chelsea 2011/12)
The Ghanamidfielder finally became an European club champion with Chelsea in 2012, having defeated Bayern Munich in a tense final at the Allianz Arena which was eventually decided by a penalty shootout.
After losing his position to Mikel Obi due to niggling injuries that season, Essien earned his Champions League winners medal alongside African brothers Didier Drogba, the Ivorian’s compatriot Salomon Kalou and Nigeria's Jon Mikel Obi.