Asamoah Gyan (born 22 November 1985 in Accra) is a Ghanaian professional footballer, who plays as a striker for Emirati club Al Ain in the UAE Pro-League (on loan from English club Sunderland) of the Premier League, and the Ghana national team.
Gyan shot to prominence after scoring three goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and also missing a penalty in the last minute of extra-time in Ghana‘s quarter-final defeat by Uruguay.
Having signed for Udinese in 2003 from Ghanaian club Liberty Professionals located in his hometown of Accra, Gyan spent two years on loan at Serie B club Modena to gain match experience. Following some excellent displays during the 2006 World Cup, he attracted interest from Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow. Gyan returned to Udinese at the start of 2006, but on 17 February 2007, Udinese pulled out of a deal to sell him in the January transfer window. The striker was on the verge of signing a 3-year deal with Russian Club Lokomotiv Moscow for US$10.5m, the fourth largest transfer fee in Russian football history. “The striker Udinese targeted to replace me did not sign for them,” Gyan told BBC Sport. “I’ve been told I will now have to stay in Italy for the rest of the season.”
On 10 August 2007, along with Fabio Quagliarella, Gyan signed an improved 5-year contract extension to stay at Udinese until 30 June 2012 as a reward for his fine form in the 2007–08 pre-season. “I have decided to stay here because it is one of the top leagues in the world,” Asamoah said, “There is the possibility of me playing regular football here to make me a better player. “I am comfortable with the new deal and I know I can help Udinese achieve great things for the future”. Asamoah and Quagliarella marked their contract extensions with a brace each in Udinese’s 7–0 friendly win later that evening.
Gyan was also linked with moves to Manchester United, Arsenal and AC Milan. On 29 July 2007 following his impressive pre-season form, including a hat-trick in a friendly against Serie B outfit Spezia on 25 July, before Udinese sealed the long term deal. Gyan scored 10 goals in 2006–07 to help the Stadio Friuli club finish in 10th place in Serie A.
Gyan was dogged by injury during the 2007–08 season and never appeared for Udinese again after January 2008, having played only 13 Serie A matches and scored 4 times that season.
On 11 July 2008, Gyan was signed by French Ligue 1 Club Stade Rennais for 4 years on an €8 million transfer fee. Gyan played 48 times for Rennes, scoring 14 goals. By the end of his stay at Rennes, he became a well known goal scoring figure, scoring 13 league goals in the 2009-10 season. However, Asamoah Gyan only played two games in Ligue 1 the following season, taking his total appearances to 50, before he departed for Sunderland.
On 31 August 2010, Gyan signed for Premier League club Sunderland on a four-year deal. The fee was approximately £13m, breaking the club’s previous transfer fee record, which was paid to Tottenham Hotspur for striker Darren Bent. Gyan was later given the number 33 shirt at Sunderland. He scored on his Sunderland debut against Wigan Athletic on 11 September after coming on as a substitute for Danny Welbeck. The match ended in a 1–1 draw with Antolín Alcaraz scoring Wigan’s equaliser. He marked his first start for Sunderland by netting their only goal in their League Cup exit at the hands of West Ham United. Gyan scored twice on his first Premier League start for the club in a 2–0 win against Stoke City on 6 November. His first goal came in the 9th minute when a Nedum Onuoha shot was parried by goalkeeper Asmir Begović, with Gyan on hand to tap home the rebound and his second came in the 86th minute, to secure a 2–0 victory for the Black Cats. Three days later, he followed this up by scoring the equaliser against Tottenham at White Hart Lane in a 1–1 draw as Sunderland moved up to seventh in the table. He also scored a goal in Sunderland’s 3–0 victory at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea. Gyan scored Sunderland’s third goal in their 3–0 victory over Blackburn Rovers on 1 January 2011. On 16 January 2011, he started against local rivals Newcastle United, scoring a 94th minute equaliser, preventing Newcastle gaining their second win of the season against Sunderland. Gyan added to his impressive goalscoring tally with a goal away at Stoke City on 5 February 2011. He scored an 11th minute goal against Tottenham on 12 February 2011. Gyan’s next goal came on April 23 as Sunderland beat Wigan Athletic 4-2, a match which ended prematurely for the forward as he was substituted following a hamstring injury which is expected to see him miss the remainder of the season. Gyan did recover in time to feature in Sunderland’s last game of the season at West Ham but didn’t add to his tally finishing his first season in English football with 10 league goals. Gyan took the number 3 shirt for the 2011/12 season, the same number he wears for Ghana.
Al Ain loan
On 10 September 2011, it was confirmed on the Sunderland website that Gyan would leave on a season long loan to UAE Football League club Al Ain. Amid speculation of a fee of up to £6m being paid for the loan period, with Gyan receiving up to four times his previous salary, Chairman Niall Quinn emphasised the financial benefits of the deal for both Sunderland and the player.
Asamoah Gyan made his international debut at the age of 17. Gyan scored on his senior International debut for Ghana against Somalia on 19 November 2003 in the 90th minute, he came on for Isaac Boakye in the 62nd minute in a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier, three days before he turned 18 years; helping Ghana to win that game, and making him the youngest ever player to score for Ghana. He scored four times in seven matches during that successful World Cup qualifying campaign.
He also scored the fastest goal of the 2006 World Cup after 68 seconds. The strike was also Ghana‘s first ever goal in the World Cup, coming in the game against the Czech Republic on 17 June at the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne, Germany, which set the Black Stars on their way to a 2–0 victory. He missed a penalty later in the game, and received a yellow card ruling him out of the final group game for trying to take the penalty too early. In Ghana‘s defeat to Brazil in the Round of 16, he was sent off in the 81st minute after collecting his second booking of the match (for diving).
On 24 January 2008 during the Africa Cup of Nations Gyan and his brother Baffour decided to walk out on the Black Stars following criticism after their unconvincing 1–0 win over Namibia. The media learnt the brothers had packed their bags and were ready to leave the team hotel but were persuaded to stay by team-mates. In the 2010 African Cup of Nations, Asamoah Gyan helped a Ghana team, ravaged by injuries to the finals. Gyan scored three out of the four Ghana goals during the tournament.
Gyan scored with a penalty in the 85th minute of Ghana‘s first match of the 2010 World Cup against Serbia, in a 1–0 win. He hit the post in the 92nd minute before being substituted to a standing ovation just before the final whistle. In Ghana‘s second game, he scored a penalty in the 26th minute to level the scores and earn his team a 1–1 draw against Australia.
In the round of 16 match against the USA, he scored a goal in extra time allowing Ghana to win by a score of 2 to 1 and hence become the third African team in history to qualify to the tournament’s quarter final, after Cameroon and Senegal. In the quarter final tie against Uruguay, following Luis Suárez’s handling of the ball on the goal-line, he missed a penalty kick with no time remaining at end of extra time, hitting the crossbar and necessitating a penalty shootout to decide the game. He converted his penalty in the subsequent penalty shootout, but Uruguay went on to win the shootout 4–2. Gyan scored Ghana‘s equaliser against England at Wembley in the international friendly on 29 March 2011.
In total, Gyan has scored 26 times in 48 appearances for Ghana.
Gyan’s brother, Baffour Gyan, currently plays in Ghana for Asante Kotoko.
In summer 2010, Gyan recorded and released a Ghanaian Hiplife song with Castro The Destroyer, where he features under the alias ‘Baby Jet’. The song is entitled “African Girls” and was launched unto the Ghanaian screens despite the fact that Gyan’s music was interfering with his football career. The video shows his famous ‘Asamoah Gyan Dance’ celebration which he demonstrated at the 2010 World Cup and at Sunderland. The song won an award at the Ghana Music awards in 2011.
He also joined Castro for another duo “Do Da Dance”.
Titles and honours
Africa Cup of Nations Silver medal: 2010
Africa Cup of Nations Bronze medal: 2008
2010 Africa Cup of Nations Best XI
Man of the Match in 2010 World Cup (2): vs. Australia, vs. Serbia
FIFA Ballon d’Or: Shortlist Nominee (Top 23 players in the World)
BBC African Footballer of the Year:2010