Stephen Leroy Appiah (born 24 December 1980) is a Ghanaian former professional footballer who played as a midfielder. Appiah was 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 was a member of their squad for the 2010 World Cup.
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 youth squad but was not signed and he returned to Heart of Oak.
In 1997, he moved abroad to join Italian Serie A side Udinese, where he initially played as a striker. He spent three seasons with the club, later changing positions during his time there, moving to a deeper midfield position. A transfer to Parma in 1999 was jeopardized by viral hepatitis, but Appiah overcame the illness to move there in the summer of 2000. After two seasons at Parma, Appiah went on a loan to Brescia for the 2002-03 season. Appiah became a first-team regular for the Lombardian, and scored seven times in 31 games.
Appiah’s success at Parma alerted defending Serie A champions Juventus to his talents. Juventus paid Parma 2 million Euros in the summer of 2003 to secure Appiah’s service on loan, with an option to a permanent 6 million Euros transfer in 2004. In 2003, Appiah finished in 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 Fenerbahce for 8 million Euros. He went on to win the Turkish Super League Championship with the club in their centenary year. In January 2007 he was injured during the international duty with the Black Stars and he delayed the operation on his left Knee until end of season.
At the end of the 2006-07 season, Appiah expressed a desire to leave and a German club made an offer of 4 million Euros to Fenerbahce, after Appiah’s agent contacted other clubs without Fenerbahce’s permission. Fenerbache rejected the offer.