Abedi Ayew ‘Pele’ was back under the spotlight after his recent interview on state broadcaster GTV.
Regarded as one of Ghana’s best-ever players, Abedi earned the respect of everyone who saw him play and who he played against.
Having become synonymous with the Number 10 shirt for the Black Stars and having been hailed as a star while at clubs like Marseille, there’s a lot to admire about Abedi.
But why is he inarguably Ghana’s greatest ever footballer?
Olympique Marseille became the first French club in history to win the UEFA Champions League in 1993 and Abedi Pele was a huge factor in that success.
He became the first Ghanaian to claim ‘Big Ears’ that year.
Marseille beat Italian side AC Milan 1-0 at the Olympic Stadium in Munich with Basile Boli grabbing the winner with a header.
For most Ghanaian football fans, and frankly most Marseille fans as well, it wasn’t the goal that they would most remember from the game but the corner that led to it, taken by Abedi Ayew Pele.
His teammates would admit later that Abedi orchestrated the goal, talking his colleagues into attacking the near post.
They did and his great cross was headed in for Marseille – and France’s – only European Cup.
Winning’s my middle name
Abedi Pele was a serial winner in his career for both club and country. He won the French Division twice in 1991 and 1992.
While at Al Ain, Abedi Pele won the UAE Pro-League and the President’s Cup. Abedi enjoyed success with the Black Stars as well, winning the African Cup of Nations in 1982 and three straight WAFU titles, from 1982.
Abedi Ayew Pele became the first Ghanaian in 13 years to be named African Footballer of The Year when he won the prize in 1991. He then went on to win the award twice more in the next two years.
That same year, he was named the BBC African Footballer of The Year. The next year, Abedi picked up the Golden Ball at the African Cup of Nations before finishing ninth for the FIFA Player Of the Year Award.
552 all out
Abedi made about 552 appearances over the course of his two-decade-long career. He played a total of 479 games for his various club sides, making the most appearances for French club Marseille, where he played 112 games.
Can’t stop scoring
He scored 157 club goals with the 28 goals he netted for both RTU and Al Ain, the most he has scored for a single club.
For the national side, Abedi earned 73 caps and scored 33 goals
Abedi played for 12 different clubs across a very impressive career. Over the first decade, he played twice for Real Tamale United, Al Sadd, Zürich, Dragons l’Ouémé, Chamois Niortais, Mulhouse, Marseille and Lille.
He started off the next ten years of his career by returning to Marseille before playing for Lyon, Torino, 1860 Munich and Al Ain.