|Date of Birth||1980-12-04|
Stephen Leroy Appiah born 24 December 1980 is a Ghanaian retired footballer who played as a midfielder.Appiah was a member of the Ghana national team, which he has represented at the youth, Olympic, and senior levels.He captained Ghana at their World Cup debut in 2006 and was a member of their squad for the 2010 World Cup. Appiah began his career at local club Hearts of Oak in 1995, at 15 years of age. In 1996, he had trials with Galatasaray's youth squad but was not signed and he returned to Hearts of Oak.
In 1997,he moved abroad to join Italian Serie A side Udinese, where he initially played as a striker.He spent three seasons with the club,later changing positions during his time there, moving to a deeper midfield position.A transfer to Parma in 1999 was jeopardized by viral hepatitis, but Appiah overcame the illness to move there in the summer of 2000. After two seasons at Parma,Appiah went on loan to Brescia for the 2002–03 season.Appiah became a first-team regular for the Lombardino, and scored seven times in 31 games.Appiah's success at Parma alerted defending Serie A champions Juventus to his talents.Juventus paid Parma €2 million in the summer of 2003 to secure Appiah's services on loan,with an option to a permanent €6 million transfer in 2004.
.In 2003, Appiah finished 8th for African Footballer of the Year. He 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. In his second season at Juventus, Appiah played in 18 Serie A games. In July 2005, he was transferred from Juventus to Turkish giants Fenerbahçe for €8 million. He went on to win the Turkish Super League Championship with the club in their centenary year. In January 2007 he was injured during the international duty with the Black Stars and he delayed the operation on his left knee until end of season. At the end of the 2006–07 season, Appiah expressed a desire to leave and a German club made an offer of €4 million to Fenerbahçe, after Appiah's agent contacted other clubs without Fenerbahçe's permission. Fenerbahçe rejected the offer. After an extended knee-injury layoff, Appiah came off the bench for Fenerbahçe in the Turkish Super League on 6 October 2007. However, the injury recurred after his last game on 1 December, and Appiah went to Italy for rehabilitation on 20 December 2007.
The long-term injury forced him to miss the 2008 African Cup of Nations as a player, instead, he became a special adviser of the team. Fenerbahçe also wanted to de-register Appiah as he occupied a foreigner quota, but he refused as he was unclear with the matter. Appiah also refused to take rehabilitation in Turkey. The club also thought that Appiah was actually AWOL and Appiah thought the club exposed his medical history to the press and mistreatment to his injury, although the club defended that it had made an appointment for Appiah to visit Mayo Clinic, United States, but Appiah did not attend. On 1 February 2008, Appiah formally submitted a claim of mistreatment by asking to leave as free agent on 1 July 2008 and received the pre-agreed 2008–09 season salary of €2 million. In response, Fenerbahçe notified FIFA. In April 2008 the case went to FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC), and both parties sued each other. He unilaterally terminated the contract at the end of season, as he thought the club had breached the contract by not fulfilling its duties. He also discussed with West Ham United in summer 2008 for a possible contract. DRC ordered Appiah to pay Fenerbahçe €2,281,915 as he breached the contract without just cause on 9 January 2009. He immediately appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in May after received the decision on 5 May 2009 and the club also submitted its appeal.
On 7 June 2010 CAS ruled that Appiah did not need to pay Fenerbahçe, as Fenerbahçe saved more in wages (€2,633,020.65) than losses (€2,496,278.85). Appiah was on trial with the London-based club Tottenham Hotspur in January 2009 with a view to a 6-month permanent contract, however concerns over his knee and fitness resulted in no contract being offered, as Spurs took up the option of signing Wilson Palacios from Wigan instead. The following month Appiah underwent a trial at Rubin Kazan, but the Russian champions decided against signing the player because of the same fitness concerns. Despite being without a club since his departure from Fenerbahçe in June 2008, Appiah remained a regular with the national team throughout the 2008–09 season.
On 1 November 2009, Bologna announced the signing of Appiah on a free transfer.On 7 August 2010, Appiah signed for newly promoted Italian Serie A side Cesena on a one-year deal with the option of signing on for another year if the club managed to remain in the top flight. At the end of the 2010–11 season his contract with Cesena expired, and he became a free agent. Appiah was a talented, tenacious, and physically strong, all-round box-to-box midfielder, who was capable of defending well, as well as orchestrating attacks, creating chances for teammates, and even scoring goals himself, due to his vision, technique, aggressive tackling, athletic attributes, stamina, and his powerful and accurate shot from distance with his right foot. A versatile, powerful, and hard-working player, he was capable of playing anywhere in midfield, and adapting himself to several different formations, but usually operated in the center of the pitch. Appiah has designed a clothing line named StepApp that was released in late November 2007 in his hometown of Accra. All proceeds go to the StepApp foundation. The clothing line will initially be released in Africa before arriving in Europe and the United States in the following months. After release the StepApp clothing line has run into trouble.