Juventus tried to stop me from representing Ghana at Olympics - Stephen Appiah

Stephen Appiah Kumasi.jpeg Ghana legend Stephen Appiah

Sat, 30 Apr 2022 Source: goal.com

Ghana legend Stephen Appiah has come out to discuss how Italian giants Juventus attempted to stop him from playing for the Black Stars at the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece, Athens.

After joining Juventus from Parma, the former Black Stars captain went on to play in 30 Serie A games and appeared in the Coppa Italia final. He also made his debut in the Champions League. In his second season at Juventus, Appiah played in 18 Serie A games.

Appiah, 22-years-old then, was faced with a tough choice, when Juventus called on him not to represent Ghana at the summer games. Appiah has now explained what transpired.

“I was told the club had received a letter from Ghana. Even before I went in, I knew that it was about the Olympic Games,” the 41-year-old Appiah told Asaase Radio as quoted by Talk Sports Ghana.

“I went into the Sporting Director’s office only to see three men; Luciano Moggi – Juventus Director of Football, Geraldo, the club’s lawyer, and the legendary Berttegga himself.

“Without even asking whether I wanted to go or not, they explained at length how much they needed me. They suggested I stayed and not represent my country at the Olympics. I asked for time to think about it and decide. They gave me three days.”

Appiah continued: “I had previously spoken to some teammates who had been to the Olympics and what they described was unmissable. Beyond the immeasurable sense of pride of representing your country at the multi-sport event, it was a festival.

“The description of the Games village, getting to see other world-class athletes up close and in action was indescribable, they said. This was better than the World Cup. So I had to be there.

“And on a personal note, I had played at the Fifa U17 World Cup once, twice at the U20 but never at the Olympics. This was my chance. And as a matter of principle, only injuries or suspensions could stop me from representing my country. That’s non-negotiable.”

Appiah further revealed despite his stance, he was called once again for another meeting with Juventus’ Moggi. Appiah stood his ground and maintained he had to go to Athens with Ghana.

“I know they valued me. I was one of the more talented midfielders there. But this is Juventus where there are always options,” added Appiah.

Appiah proceeded to Athens where he carved a niche for himself as a stylish and composed attacking midfielder, who had a deadly eye for goal as well. He scored twice in that short stint in Athens, shining in all three group games, running the attacking department in spectacular fashion.

In July 2005, he was transferred from Juventus to Fenerbahce for €8 million. He went on to win the Turkish Super League Championship with the club in their centenary year.

Source: goal.com