Stephen Appiah narrates how Juventus almost prevented him from going to 2006 Olympics

Stephen Appiah Atl Former Back Stars captain, Stephen Appiah

Sun, 8 May 2022 Source: footballghana.com

Stephen Appiah has disclosed how Serie A giants Juventus attempted to prevent him from representing Ghana at the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy.

The 41-year-old joined Juventus from Parma for €2 million in the summer of 2003 on loan with an option to a permanent €6 million transfer in 2004.

Appiah went on to enjoy a good first season for Juventus, playing in 30 Serie A games and appearing in the Coppa Italia final. He also made his debut in the UEFA Champions League.

Appiah, who was 22 at the time, was faced with a difficult decision when Juventus asked him not to represent Ghana at the summer games in Italy in 2006.

"I was informed that the club had received a letter from Ghana. Before I walked through the door, I realized it was all about the Olympics,” he said, according to Asaase Radio.

"When I walked into the Sporting Director’s office, there were only three people there: Luciano Moggi, the Director of Football at Juventus, Geraldo, the club’s lawyer, and the legendary Berttegga himself."

"They went into great detail about how much they needed me without even asking if I wanted to go or not. They suggested that I remain in the country and not represent my country at the Olympic Games. I requested some time to consider my options and make a decision. They gave me three days to complete the task."

"I had previously spoken to some teammates who had attended the Olympics, and what they had to say about it was unmissable. It was a festival, in addition to the immeasurable sense of pride that comes from representing your country at a multi-sport event.

"Seeing other world-class athletes up close and inaction was an experience that can’t be described in words. This was a far superior event to the World Cup. As a result, I had to be there.

"On a personal note, I had previously represented my country at the FIFA U17 World Cup, twice at the U20 World Cup, but never at the Olympics.

"This was my opportunity. And, as a matter of principle, the only things that could prevent me from representing my country are injuries or suspensions. That is a non-negotiable requirement."

He added, "I’m aware that they thought highly of me. I was considered to be one of the more talented midfielders on the team. Nevertheless, this is Juventus, where there are always options."

Source: footballghana.com