Iconic footballer Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew is not only revered in his native Ghana, but also across the African continent. Born Abedi Ayew, he earned the nickname ‘Pele,’ after the legendary Brazilian superstar following his exploits on the football arena. Interestingly, more people got to know him by the adopted moniker, with Ayew only known mostly to Ghanaians.
Abedi Ayew was one of the few lucky African stars who managed to play in the more lucrative European leagues at that time, turning out for French giants Olympique Marseille. But what makes him Ghana’s greatest footballer?
European Champions League winner
In 1993, Olympique Marseille beat Italian side AC Milan in the finals of the European Champions League at the Olympic Stadium in Munich. Pele was part of the winning team, but even though teammate Basile Boli scored the decisive goal, the Ghanaian was influential throughout the match.
He will be remembered by the Marseille fans for the corner that he took, resulting in Boli’s headed goal. Marseille’s UCL win makes them the only French team to win the ‘Big ears to date. It also made Ayew the first Ghanaian to win the European Champions League.
Remember French side PSG are still in the running for this year’s interrupted European Champions League trophy, which you can bet with Betway when matches resume.
Winner on all fronts
Abedi Pele Ayew enjoyed a trophy-laden career at both club and country levels, winning several championships overall.
He won the French Championship twice with Marseille, in 1991 and 1992, won the United Arab Emirates Pro-League with Al Ain, and won the African Cup of Nations trophy in 1982.
3-time African Footballer of the Year
When Ghana’s poster boy won the African Footballer of the Year award in 1991, he made it his own for two more years consecutively. In 13 years, Ghana had not produced a winner for the prize, but Ayew’s performances could not be ignored this time around.
He also clinched the BBC African Footballer of the Year award in 1991, following that up with a top scorer award at the 1992 AFCON championships. His exploits saw him finish ninth in the FIFA Player of the Year in 1992.
In a career spanning about two decades, Ayew made 479 club appearances and 73 appearances for the Black Stars. At Marseille alone, he made 112 appearances, including crucial European ties for the then-dominant club.
He was Ghana’s stand out player in international assignments, often scoring match-winning goals and eye-catching displays.
Eye for goal
Abedi Pele Ayew played for a total of 12 different clubs throughout his 2-decade career, scoring 157 goals. He also managed 33 international goals for the Black Stars in 73 outings, becoming one of Ghana’s most prolific scorers of that time.
His influence in the French top division opened the doors for more Ghanaians to move to the Ligue 1, notably, his mercurial sons Andrew and Jordan. When Andrew won the BBC African Footballer of the Year award in 2011, he was turning out for Marseille, where Ayew senior made his name. Andrew now plays for English Championship side Swansea, while Jordan turns out for Crystal Palace in the English Premier League. You can follow and bet on the Ayew brothers to score with Betway in their midweek assignments.
With football leagues resuming across the world, Betway will have several betting markets for the fans.