Former Ghana and Bayern Munich defender Samuel Osei Kuffour has revealed that his ambition was to be one of the top defenders in the world during his playing days.
The 43-year-old featured for German giants Bayern Munich for over a decade, winning a total of 14 trophies, and playing in nearly 250 official matches.
He also won the FIFA U-17 World Championship with Ghana in 1991 and picked up some top individual awards as well.
"My ambition was to be one of the top defenders in the world and at a point in my career, I was like one of the best in the world because everyone was saying ‘you’re too good, you’re this, you are that’,” he told Goal.com.
"I was lucky to play against all the top defenders and none of them was able to do anything against me.
"When I was young as an African, a Ghanaian, the only thing at the back of my mind was to progress in my life and I was getting better each and every day so I thank God for it.
“In Africa, the one I was looking up to was from Senegal and he was very good. The name is Roger Mendy. He was playing at Sampdoria in Italy.
"He was so good as a defender. At Senegal 1992 [Afcon], he was one of the best in the tournament. I was just looking up to that guy."
Kuffour played for Bayern Munich between 1993 to 2005 and teamed up with Germany international Lothar Matthaus.
According to him, it was an honour to play alongside 1990 World Cup winner Matthaus.
"When you are young as a player, you will have a mentor,” Kuffour told Goal when asked about some of his inspirations.
"I was in [the Ghana national team] camp with Frimpong Manso and Emmanuel Armah and I really wanted to be like them because the way they were playing was amazing.
"But my thinking later was that I wanted to be better than them.
"When I had the chance to move to Torino in Italy, I wanted to be like Julio Cesar of Brazil. He was my mentor. So when I had the chance to play against him, I wanted to be better than him.
"So my dream was to get better every day.
"When I had the chance to play alongside Lothar Matthaus, that was a privilege for me. I wanted to be better than him as a defender.”
He featured for several clubs including Asante Kotoko, FC Nürnberg, AS Roma, Ajax Amsterdam, and Livorno before hanging his boots.