From Liberty Professionals to Albacete: The story of Sulley Muntari

Sulley Muntari is a 34-year-old Ghanaian professional footballer blessed with immense talent. His talent has been recognized at the international stage. His name always divide opinions about but one thing stands tall, his commitment to giving his all when on the field of play is second to none.

Muntari’s abilities first came to light in youth tournaments, while he was playing for Liberty Professionals youth team. His exploits made him a regular member of Ghana under-20 team at the age of 16 as they finished runners-up at the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship in Argentina, losing out to the hosts in the final.

Scouts at the tournament got noticed of a young Muntari and he was handed a trial at Manchester United after the tournament, he ended up joining Udinese in the Italian league.

The Konongo native found himself at Udinese reserves in his first season but with determination and hard work, Muntari found himself the first team of the club.

After making a name for himself in Italy with Udinese, where he scored eight goals in 125 games in all competitions for the Serie A side, he moved to England on May 30, 2007, after putting pen to paper on a five-year contract with Portsmouth.

However, he only played for a season with the English side and in his stay, he won the FA CUP before his eventual departure to Inter Milan.

Harry Redknapp the then manager of Pompey was reluctant to let go of his midfielder.

When asked by Skysports of Muntari’s rumoured switch to Inter Milan he said: “I don’t want to sell him, he is one of my best players and is a terrific young talent”.

However, the opportunities to work with Jose Mourinho one of the best coaches the game has ever produced is too good to turn down and Muntari grabbed it with both hands.

Having eventually made a return to Italy this time joining Inter Milan, he announced his presence in the league by scoring the only goal in the Derby d’Italia against rivals Juventus.

At the San Siro, the ex-Pompey star netted eight goals in 97 matches in all competitions for the Serie A outfit, and he propelled the team to win their first treble in football, the Italian Cup, Champions League and the league. In his stay, he lifted two Serie A titles, two Coppa Italias, two Supercoppa Italianas, the FIFA Club World Cup and the UEFA Champions League in 2010,

After achieving success with Internationale Muntari made a Premier League move to Sunderland and later join AC Milan. He had a 3-year stint with the Italian side and made a move to Saudi Arabia’s topflight with Al Ittihad before making a third return to the Italian league with Pescara.

Mutari in one of the matches suffered after racist chants were directed at him. His complaints of racist abuse were met with a yellow card and he later walked off the pitch. The world joined Muntari in the Fight against racism with support trooping all over. World governing body who frowns on racist sent a release in solidarity with Muntari.

“FIFA first of all would like to express full solidarity with Muntari,” a spokesman from the world governing body said in a statement to Ghana’s leading football news outfit on Friday.

“Any form of racism on or outside the field is totally unacceptable and has no place in football.

“As to the disciplinary consequences, this falls under the jurisdiction of the relevant national body.”

Muntari currently plays for Spanish Secunda B side Albacete which is his 9th club in professional football after having a season with Deportivo La Coruna. The road has not been easy neither is Muntari willing to rest until he ends on a high note in the game.

He is seeking to make a return to the Black Stars after controversies erupted in 2014 FIFA World Cup with led to his exclusion from the Senior National team. The Dzamefe Commission of enquiry set up to investigate the matter told Muntari to render an unqualified apology to the team and Ghanaians of which he has done.

Sulley Muntari is the 4th most capped player for the Black Stars with 84 caps and scorer of 20 goals. He has represented Ghana at three FIFA World Cups – 2006, 2010 and 2014 and he is married to former beauty queen who was named Miss Universe Ghana 2004, Menaye Donkor.

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