Kwadwo Asamoah is gearing up for Juventus when they lock horns with defending champions Real Madrid in Cardiff on Saturday evening. Pulse Sports takes a look at 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 Pele Ayew (Marseille 1992/93)
The Ghanaian midfielder was influential during Marseille’s UEFA Champions League final 1-0 win over AC Milan in 1993. He delivered the 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.
Samuel Kuffour (Bayern Munich 2000/01)
Kuffour played the entire match as Munich 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.
Michael Essien (Chelsea 2011/12)
The no-nonsense, tough-tackling midfielder was key to Chelsea’s success following the appointment of Jose Mourinho in 2004, helping the club to a number of Premier League and FA Cups.
The Ghanaian also added the Champions League trophy to his glittering CV when the Blues defeated Bayern Munich on penalties in the 2011/12 campaign.
Although he was an unused substitute in that final, his impact at the London club was huge, especially as he helped fill the void left by Claude Makelele, who left the Blues in 2008.
Sulley Muntari (Inter Milan 2009/10)
It was a fine unit that Jose Mourinho constructed to deliver Inter Milan’s first European Cup in 45 years, and Ghana’s Sulley Muntari proved every bit as essential a component of that side as the likes of Samuel Eto'o, Diego Milito and Wesley Sneijder. Muntari put in a fairly decent shift, especially in games such as the semi-final second leg against Barcelona, helping provide the defensive steel the successful Nerazzuri thrived on. A 10-minute cameo in the final at Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu might have had little impact on a game already wrapped up 2-0 by the time he joined, yet few could begrudge Muntari a well-earned reward.
Ibrahim Tanko (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.