Erstwhile Ghana skipper Stephen “Tornado” Appiah has recounted how former French center back Lilian Thuram played a vital role in his move to Juventus in 2003.
Stephen Appiah after two seasons at Parma joined Brescia on loan for the 2002–03 season. Appiah was instrumental for Brescia, and scored seven times in 31 games.
His performances that year alerted defending Serie A champions Juventus who paid Parma €2 million in the summer of 2003 to secure his services on loan, with an option to a permanent €6 million transfer in 2004.
Appiah went on to enjoy a good first season with 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.
Speaking in an interview with Carol Tshabalala which was monitored by GHANASoccernet.com, Appiah revealed how 1998 World Cup winner Thuram played a vital role in his move to Juventus.
“After the season I came to Ghana for holiday and [Lilian] Thuram called me. I played with him, [Fabio] Canavaro, [Gigi] Buffon, [Alain] Boghossian at Parma so I was in Ghana and Thuram called and asked, do you want to play for Juventus? and I said my friend, why ask me such a question and he replied that he is serious, so I asked why and he said the Juventus Director [Luciano Moggi] will call me in twenty (20) minutes time and he indeed called me in twenty minutes time,” Appiah told Carol Tshabalala which was monitored by GHANASoccernet.com
“I was so shocked because he [Moggi] was so powerful when it comes to Italian football so for him to call me was an honour. We spoke and he asked me what I was doing and I told him I was with my family on holiday, and he said I should come to Turin the following week so I asked him, director why…and he said you have to come and do your medical because we want to sign you. I was lost for words but I told him to expect me. I flew to Torino and did my medical and I became a Juventus player.”
Appiah spent two seasons at Juventus, he was sold to Turkish giants Fenerbahçe for €8 million in 2005, where he went on to win the Turkish Super League.
The former Juventus midfielder also revealed how he got his nick name “Tornado”.
“I got the name Tornado after during [Parma] game against Juventus in the Coppa Italia final. I was all over the pitch and the commentator was saying that this guy is strong like a Tornado. That’s where I got the name,” Appiah disclosed.
Parma won the 2001/02 Coppa Italia after defeating Juventus in the finals, Parma won on the away goals rule with an aggregate score of 2-2.