Sports News Tue, 28 Jul 2020
Next month, the finals of the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League will be held, and that will officially bring the 2019/2020 global football season to a close.It has been a torrid year. A year which started as planned, but was ultimately dissipated by the novel coronavirus which brought almost every sporting discipline in the world to a standstill before the season had even negotiated its halfway curve.
Thankfully, authorities found a way back, albeit at a cost- no fans- at the various stadia.
While we look forward to having football and all sporting activities return to how we knew it before COVID-19, it is worthy to note that Ghanaian footballers stood-out and impressed for their clubs in the major European Leagues.
Here, we chronicle the exploits of five of the outstanding players in Europe this season.
Andre Ayew ( Swansea City)
Arguably the best performing Ghanaian footballer in Europe this season. It is easy to say Andre is bossing on the Championship, which is the second tier of English football and not the Premiership but his performances have been incredible for Swansea.
Andre is a player who has top-level football in the past, two FIFA World Cups and several African Cup of Nations tournaments do not come easily. He is on a big salary at Swansea, failed to help them survive relegation last term but he hasn’t let that affect him. Instead, he has acted like the big boy/player he is and is literally dragging them back into the topflight.
Ayew Dede Ayew has been outstanding for Swansea City since his return from a season-long loan from Turkish Super Lig outfit Fenerbahce last summer.
The 30-year-old is leading the Swans' charge for Premier League promotion as their top scorer with 16 goals after 45 league appearances.
He will be looking to inspire them to Wembley when they visit Brentford at Griffin Park for the second leg on Wednesday, July 29. Swansea won the first-leg tie 1-0.
Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace)
Another Ayew. This time, the last of the Ayew brothers and finally, he seems to have reached his peak as a footballer. Call him a late bloomer but Jordan has for a while now managed to turn his critics into fans and admirers with his jaw-dropping performances.
Easily the best player for Crystal Palace in the just ended English Premier League season, he has had an incredible season for Crystal Palace emerging as the club’s top scorer with nine goals in 37 appearances.
Thomas Partey (Atlético Madrid)
Wanted by a host of big clubs in Europe after a stellar campaign. Thomas Partey has become one of the first names on each of Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid team sheets. The Ghanaian midfielder took further steps forward this past campaign as he dominated in the centre of the park for the Rojiblancos.
Even if he didn’t score as many goals as he has in some other seasons, his efforts in the middle propelled the capital city club to an eighth consecutive top-three finish.
Iddrisu Baba (RCD Mallorca)
Although Mallorca were ultimately relegated, the main reason they came so close to avoiding the drop is Iddrisu Baba. The Ghanaian central midfielder came through the ranks at RCD Mallorca’s academy, played the third-most minutes of all the island team’s players this campaign and was a key cog in their system.
His midfield efforts didn’t always show up on the stats sheets, but he absolutely passed the eye test and the 24-year-old looks to have a big career ahead of him.
Mohammed Salisu (Real Valladolid)
There was concern at Real Valladolid last summer when they lost Fernando Calero, one of their starting centre-backs, in the transfer market. But coach Sergio González had a plan and promoted Mohammed Salisu from the club’s academy into the first team.
It was a stroke of genius as the 21-year-old Ghanaian was excellent in the Pucela back line, so much so that he has been constantly linked in recent months with a transfer to some of Europe’s top clubs.