Europe’s Black Stars

Udinese Calcio is based in Udine, Friuli-Venezia Giulia (Italy).The Serie A side founded in 1896 is the second oldest club in the Serie A, after Genoa C.F.C.The traditional team home kit is black and white striped shirt, black shorts, and white socks. The club plays in the Stadio Friuli, which has a capacity of 41,652 (although it is currently limited to 30,900). It has a large number of fans in Friuli and surrounding areas.

Udinese has been the breeding grounds for most Ghanaian footballers, especially Liberty Professional products. The Serie A side has been a stepping stone for these players. Players like Stephen Appiah,Gyan and Muntari all started their European at the Udine based side.Tornado paved the way for Ghanaian footballers in Udinese. A strong all-round box-to-box midfielder able to defend as well as create and score goals; former Black Stars captain Stephen Appiah began his career at local club Hearts of Oak in 1995, at 15 years of age. 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.

Sulley Muntari joined Udinese in 2001 after an impressive FIFA Under 20 World Cup showing in Argentina, where his first season was spent in the reserves. He made his first-team debut in 2002, against Milan. The Rossoneri proved too strong on the day, yet Udinese’s young newcomer left an instant impression. “Muntari was immense against Milan,” enthused monthly magazine Football Italia, “showing himself to possess the touch of Kaká and the combativeness of Edgar Davids, he is definitely a player to keep a close eye on.” In his second full season, he made more appearances the following season, although indiscipline saw him sent off three times in 16 matches in the 2006–07 season. He left Udinese for Portsmouth after five seasons.

Baby Jet signed for Udinese in 2003 from Ghanaian club Liberty Professionals located in his hometown of Accra after making his name in the GHALCA Top 4,s coring 3 goals for his side. Gyan spent two years on loan at Serie B club Modena to gain match experience. Following some excellent displays during the 2006 World Cup, he attracted interest from Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow. Gyan scored 10 goals in 2006–07 to help the Stadio Friuli club finish in 10th place in Serie A. Gyan was dogged by injury during the 2007–08 season and never appeared for Udinese again after January 2008, having played only 13 Serie A matches and scored 4 times that season.

Gyan’s namesake Kwadwo Asamoah was scouted playing for a local based club Depotivo F.C. which belongs to Kamara and was recommended by the scout Mr. Charles Mensah Gapson to Alhaji Sly Tetteh, CEO of Liberty Professionals.In the January 2008 transfer window, he was signed by AC Bellinzona and loaned out to Torino F.C.] In fact, Udinese borrowed the non-EU registration quota from Torino in order to sign him, as the club already signed Mauricio Isla that season.Asamoah made his debut in 2009 against U.C. Sampdoria.Since then,he has become a key player for Udinese and the Italian side does not want to trade him for anything.

2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup hero  Agyemang-Badu began his career at Berlin F.C. Brong Ahafo in Berekum, before later signing for Berekum Arsenal. He left Berekum Arsenal, signing a one year loan contract with Asante Kotoko.He signed  a six months loan contract with Recreativo de Huelva, on loan from Berlin FC. His contract with the Spanish club Recreativo de Huelva was dissolved in September 2009 and he moved back to Asante Kotoko.In January 2010 Udinese Calcio announced they had signed the midfielder on their official site permanently from Berlin FC. He received his first first team call-up against A.C. Milan (just like Muntari) , but did not play.

In January 2010, after joining Udinese, Jonathan Mensah moved to Spanish club Granada CF on loan. Three days ago Jonathan moved on a free transfer to newly promoted French Ligue 1 side Evian, signing a four-year contract.The Ghanaian defender Jonathan Mensah is in big trouble as Udinese are preparing to report him to FIFA because they are unaware of his move to the French side Evian.The 20-year-old, who has four years remaining on his contract with Udinese.

Evian announced this week that they had signed Mensah on a free transfer but this flies in the face of the five-contract he signed with his Italian club just last year.The Italian club will also report his Ghana-registered Fifa agent Antoine Figali to the world governing body for inducing the player to violate his contract.The defender travelled to France this week for a medical before sealing a four-year contract.Udinese officials are shocked that Evian could sign a player without checking his contract especially with the club they had just bought Ghana youth midfielder Rabiu Mohammed from.They will also make a strong case against Figali and his partner Fabien Pivateau, who manages most of the Ghana players, are said to have brokered the move.

Football world was shocked on Friday when Evian announced that they had signed Mensah on a free transfer.The centre-back spent the second-half of last season on loan at Spanish side Granada because of the lack of playing time in Italy.Udinese had asked him report for pre-season next week which means he could get some playing time in this season when they will be playing in the Champions League.

The revelation has already marred Pivateau’s relationship with Udinese after transferring players like Asamoah Gyan, Sulley Muntari and Kwadwo Asamoah to the club.

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