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A book does not contain enough pages to document the crazy life of Ghana’s footballing icon Asamoah Gyan, whose mind-blowing story continues to inspire the next generation of African talent. While the 37-year-old will always be remembered for what he achieved on the field, the chapters he has written since he left top-level football behind are of equal intrigue and fascination.
The former forward has scored more World Cup goals than any African player in history having also lit up almost every corner of the globe with his skills, innovation and striking instincts.
During a progressional career that spanned 18 years, Gyan played in Ghana, Italy, France, England, the United Arab Emirates, China, Turkey and India before eventually hanging up his boots two years ago.
Still, Gyan even began training again last August in an attempt to make a late surge for Ghana’s World Cup squad for Qatar 2022 amid the lure of potentially writing more history at the finals, having previously featured at three tournaments (2006, 2010 and 2014).
Gyan’s World Cup story itself is a remarkable one that certainly started in style. That’s because he netted the fastest goal at the 2006 tournament in Germany during a 2-0 win over Czech Republic which was also the Black Stars’ first ever at a finals.
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He would also miss a penalty in the match before picking up a caution that would see him miss the final group game. Gyan’s return for the last 16 clash against Brazil would also end in tears, as he was sent off after receiving a second yellow card for diving.
Shortly before earning his Premier League move to Sunderland, Gyan starred in South Africa – netting in back-to-back group matches to book Ghana’s place in the knockout stages.
He would go one better in the last 16 this time around, bagging an extra-time winner against the United States as Ghana became only the third African team ever to reach the last eight.
But Gyan’s World Cup would once again end in agony as he missed a last-gasp extra-time penalty against Uruguay after Luis Suarez handled the ball on the line before the South Americans went through on spot-kicks.
Four years later, he was back with a vengeance in Brazil, netting against Germany in a 2-2 draw to tie level Roger Milla as Africa’s all-time World Cup top goalscorer.
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Then, as Ghana’s qualification hopes hung in the balance, Gyan became embroiled in a dispute with his nation over an appearance bonus ahead of the final group match against Portugal.
The matter was swiftly resolved following a phone call with Ghana president John Dramani Mahama, who resultantly dispatched a cash-filled plane containing £2.5m to Brazil, where the money would be delivered to Gyan.
Obviously, he repaid the president’s gesture with a goal but it wasn’t enough as the Black Stars were dumped out of the competition.
Post-retirement, the dancing, joyful attacker, who is Ghana’s all-time appearance holder (107 caps) and goalscorer (51 goals), has reportedly invested in as many as 18 businesses – starting several of those himself.
The footballer turned entrepreneur was keen to maintain and improve his eye-watering fortune despite hanging up his boots having banked some monstrous wages during his time in China, the Middle East and India.
Incredibly, Gyan diced with death to get the picture once his team-mates told him they had just met the boxing Hall of Famer.
He told Kwaku Manu’s YouTube show ‘Aggressive’ in 2019: “They went to a mall just across our hotel room. I was even scared after seeing the number of missed calls as I’d been sleeping.
“I quickly left my hotel room in pursuit of Mayweather, I could have been knocked down by a vehicle if I had not been cautious.
“I was stopped by one of his bodyguards but I was saved by a group of African fans who began to hail me. The bodyguard after realising my popularity went online to do background checks on me before I went inside to call Mayweather. I was dumbfounded when I met him. We took a picture and exchanged numbers.”
Gyan also founded a music business in Asa Band in 2015 after featuring in a chart-topping record with Ghanaian hiplife rapper Castro prior to the latter’s disappearance in 2014.
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He also put money into a water company Paradise Pac Water which became the official water of Asante Kotoko in 2018.
Furthermore, he is a key figure behind the Ghanaian management company JetLink Events and Logistics which is involved in the organisation of tents, lights, trusses and LED screens.
The mogul is also responsible for the importations of noodles and rice through his brand Mama Vits Noodles and Rice while he is also involved in real estate, owns buildings in Ghana and a bus company that runs transportation in Accra.
There are mixed reports on Gyan’s net worth but he has previously rubbished claims within the media that he is “broke” – either way, his legacy goes much further than the football pitch and scoring goals.
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