Sulley Muntari: The fickle strongman
Ghana will hope Sulley Muntari can put his country in front of his emotions
Born: Aug. 27, 1984
Clubs played for: Manchester United sought Sulley Muntari when the midfielder was a teenager, but it was Udinese that snatched him up in 2002. He spent five years with Zebrette (Little Zebras) before a surprise move to the south coast of England and Portsmouth. Muntari was part of the Pompey team that won the FA Cup in 2008 but soon after he went back to Italy with Inter Milan. Since then, the 25-year-old has become a presence in the centre of Inter's midfield.
International career: When he has played for his country, Muntari has been lauded for his work ethic and commitment, but prior to tournaments, particularly the 2006 World Cup, he is usually involved in a heated dispute with the country's soccer association. In recent months Muntari engaged in a public spat with Black Stars head coach Milovan Rajevac; the two only recently reconciled.
Why is he so special? When he is focused, Muntari is a mound of muscle in the midfield that can outrun and outmuscle opponents, and an intelligent footballer who always looks to play shrewd passes.
His most famous moment: Muntari scored the decisive penalty in Portsmouth's 1-0 win over Manchester United in the 2007-2008 FA Cup quarterfinals.
He said it: "Expectations are very high. We did very well last time (in 2006). Our fans back home definitely want more, and we want to do that for ourselves and we want to do that for our country and we want to do it for our continent."
What they're saying about him: "We know that he's an excellent player." — Massimo Morrati, Inter president.
Interesting fact: Muntari is a practising Muslim and observes the holy month of Ramadan, fasting during daylight. "It's tough to play with no food in your stomach," he says. "You fall down easily."