Last Saturday Kwadwo “Kojo” Asamoah played his 150th Serie A match (vs Parma). Currently with Juventus (since June 2012), the Ghanaian midfielder started his Serie A career at Udinese (2008-2012, 114 matches, 8 goals), before he moved to Juventus. He first came to Italy as a youth team player at Torino earlier in 2008, after a short stay at a Swiss club and before that an even briefer career in Ghana.
In his short time with Juventus, Asamoah has already won a Serie A medal (2012/2013) and the Super Cup. Though he forged his reputation as a high-energy central midfielder, Juventus manager Antonio Conte has used Asamoah as a wing-back in his unusual retro formation, which involves two strikers, three centre-halves and a pair of marauding wing-backs, of which Asamoah is one. This has made him a key figure in debates about tactics and tactical innovation in a period where all but a very few top level managers are firmly set into a 4-2-3-1 orthodoxy in the mode of Mourinho or Wenger.
Asamoah is not shy about publicly sharing his good fortune. He is a relentless tweeter, sharing pics of teammates including one of his son with Giorgio Ciellini (“Beauty and the Beast“), meeting the king of the Asante or — that staple of West African footballers — professing his love of Jesus (serial hashtag: #BecauseofHim).
But back to his Serie A exploits: Asamoah is clearly a favorite at the club (he takes center-stage in the club’s promotions, remarkable given how racist Italy and Serie A is). And the fans love him. One fan-made video is simply titled “Too Fast, Too Strong” (set to a Linkin Park remix yes):
It is now a thing with football blogs to reduce the game to video highlights of goals, something we’re trying to break with. Yet the goals he has scored in Italy are spectacular. In total, he’s scored 10 goals in Serie A. Here’s some of them as well as that debut goal for Juventus in the Super Cup in the summer.
(1) Overhead goal for Juventus vs Pescara in November 2012:
(2) One year into his Udinese career, he scored this goal vs Cagliari:
(3) Or this goal for Udinese vs Fiorentina in April 2009:
(4) Finally, though not a Serie A goal, I had to include this mid-August 2013 Super Cup goal for Juventus vs Napoli — on his debut for the club:
* Asamoah, who has had 57 national caps since 2006, can also make history with Ghana this summer in Brazil as the first African team to make it beyond the quarterfinals of the World Cup–they still have a second play-off match against Egypt coming up (he almost scored in the first leg which the Blacks Stars won 6-1).