Stephen Appiah is a Ghanaian international football midfielder. He has played for several European clubs since 1997 and is currently with Bologna in the Italian Serie A.
Appiah is also a member of the Ghana national team, which he has represented at the youth, Olympic, and senior levels. He captained Ghana at their World Cup debut in 2006 and is a member of their squad for the 2010 World Cup.
A strong all-round box-to-box midfielder able to defend as well as create and score goals, Stephen Appiah began his career at local club Hearts of Oak in 1995, at 15 years of age. In 1996 he had trials with Galatasaray S.K.'s youth squad but was not signed and he returned to Hearts of Oak.
In 1997 he moved abroad to join Italian Serie A side Udinese. He spent three seasons with the club and while there changed from striker to midfield. A transfer to Parma in 1999 was jeopardised by viral hepatitis, but Appiah overcame the illness to move there in the summer of 2000.
After two seasons at Parma, Appiah went on loan to Brescia for the 2002-03 season. Appiah became a first-team regular for the Lombardians, and scored seven times in 31 games.
Appiah's success at Parma alerted defending Serie A champions Juventus to his talents. Juventus paid Parma €2m in the summer of 2003 to secure Appiah's services on loan, with an option to a permanent €6M transfer in 2004. In 2003, Appiah finished 8th for African Footballer of the Year.
He went on to enjoy a good first season for Juventus, playing in 30 Serie A games and appearing in the Coppa Italia final. He also made his debut in the UEFA Champions League. In his second season at Juventus, Appiah played in 18 Serie A games.
In July 2005, he was transferred from Juventus to Turkish giants Fenerbahçe S.K. for €8M. He went on to win the Turkish Super League Championship with the club in their centenary year. At the end of the 2006–07 season, Appiah expressed a desire to move on from Fenerbahçe although the club wished to extend his current contract.
After an extended knee-injury layoff, Appiah came off the bench for Fenerbahçe in the UEFA Champions League on 7 November 2007. However, the injury recurred, and Appiah went to Italy for rehabilitation. The long-term injury forced him to miss the 2008 African Cup of Nations, and he parted ways with Fenerbahçe that same year after signs of malpractice.
Appiah was on trial with London based football team Tottenham in January 2009 with a view to a 6-month permanent contract, however concerns over his knee and fitness resulted in no contract being offered, as Spurs took up the option of signing Wilson Palacios from Wigan instead.
The following month Appiah underwent a trial at FC Rubin Kazan, but the Russian champions decided against signing the player because of the same fitness concerns.
Despite being without a club since his departure from Fenerbahçe in June 2008, Appiah remained a regular with the national team throughout the 2008–09 season. On November 1, 2009 Bologna announced the signing of Appiah on a free transfer.
Poor form caused by his long inactivity, together with a number of recurring injuries, prevented him from appearing with the first team throughout the season, and he made his debut in a Bologna shirt only on May 9, 2010, as a half-time substitute during a league game versus Catania.
Appiah has designed a clothing line named StepApp that was released in late November in his hometown of Accra.
All proceeds go to the StepApp foundation.The clothing line will initially be released in Africa before arriving in Europe and the United States in the following months.
Appiah has appeared with the Ghana National Team at the 1995 FIFA U-17 World Championship, the 1997 and 1999 World Youth Championships, the 2004 Olympic tournament, and the 2006 FIFA World Cup where the team reached the second round.
During Ghana's third game of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Appiah powered in a penalty kick against the United States to send the Black Stars to the second round.