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Goal Scoring Captain Franck Kessie Leads Ivory Coast Triumph

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Franck Kessie
Franck Kessie. Photo/CaughtOffside
  • He is an Ivorian professional footballer
  • He won the Serie AS title with AC Milan
  • He won the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast in 2024

Franck Kessie is an Ivorian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Saudi Pro League club Al-Ahli and the Ivory Coast national team and was the captain of the Ivory Coast that won the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations.

Born and raised in Ivory Coast, he began his career at Stella Club d’ Adjame, a local club in his hometown of Ouragahio and he possessed a talent that caught the attention of scouts who took him to Atalanta. 

The midfielder proved his grounds on loan spells at Cesena and AC Milan and four years later, he joined AC Milan permanently where he became a crucial figure in their midfield, and his prowess made him the captain of the AC Milan team contributing to their Serie A title win.

In the following season, Kessie signed for Barcelona on a free transfer, thus posing a challenge in a different league

However, he quickly adapted and celebrated success by lifting the La Liga title and the Supercopa de Espana with Barcelona.

A year ago, he opened a new chapter in his career as he transferred to Al-Ahli in the Saudi Pro League where he aims at developing his skills in a less competitive environment. He debuted for the Ivory Coast national team and has since become a regular starter and captain of the team.

He led the Ivorian national team to victory in the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations, a crowning achievement in his international career.

Franck Kessie Early and Personal Life

The midfielder was born in Ouragahio, Ivory Coast in December 1996 to Nathalie Djedje Onouwo and Alexis Papa Kessie, a former Ivorian army, and he has four siblings. His father was a professional footballer in his youth before joining the Ivorian army. He passed away when Kessie was eleven years old and this had a big impact on the family as the midfielder had to help his mother to trade to support the children’s welfare. At this time, he had shown glimpses of interest in football as he trained with his father before his demise.

Franck Kessie

Franck Kessie. Photo/Sky Sports

The loss shaped him and his signature goal celebration is a military salute which acts as a tribute to his father’s service in the Ivorian army. While growing up, Yaya Toure served as his football idol, further fueling his passion for the sport. He is a Muslim believer who observes his religious practices.

His football journey is based on resilience and determination from humble beginnings to being the world’s best defender in the top leagues.

Franck Kessie Controversies

While he maintains a clean image on and off the field, he has had some controversies. While playing for AC Milan against Manchester United in the Europa League, he scored a goal that was disallowed due to a controversial VAR call for a handball in the buildup. This sparked debate and fan criticism towards United.

Franck Kessie

Franck Kessie. Photo/TEAMtalk

While playing for Barcelona in a La Liga match against Valencia, a potential penalty call against Kessie for a challenge in the box was not awarded. This decision fueled discussions and varying options.

Kessie Captaining AC Milan and the Ivory Coast National Team

Captaining AC Milan was multifaceted with both positive and challenging aspects as he was praised for his leadership qualities on and off the field. During his tenure, he helped the team get to their Serie A title win. However, he faced constant pressure and scrutiny from fans as he was expected to perform and his team too.

While Fanck has donned the captain’s armband for the Ivory Coast national team on various occasions, he became the official captain of the team in January 2023, shortly before the start of the Africa Cup of Nations.

He captained the team throughout the 2024 AFCON tournament which culminated in Ivory Coast lifting the trophy against their Nigeria counterparts.

My passion is capturing the untold journey of global athletes from humble beginnings to superstars in their own right.

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