Muntari with Ghana in 2008
|Full name||Suleyman Ali Muntari|
|Date of birth||27 August 1984|
|Place of birth||Konongo, Ashanti, Ghana|
|Height||1.79 m (5 ft 10 1⁄2 in)|
|2011||→ Sunderland (loan)||9||(0)|
|2012||→ Milan (loan)||13||(3)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22:43, 12 May 2013 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Suleyman Ali "Sulley" Muntari (Arabic: المونتاري سليمان علي; born 27 August 1984) is a Ghanaian footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Italian club Milan. During his time at Internazionale, he helped the team win the Champions League in 2009–10 and the Serie A title in 2008–09 and 2009–10. He was also part of the Portsmouth team that won the FA Cup in 2007–08. He is the elder brother of CFR Cluj player Sulley Muniru.
Muntari's abilities first came to light in youth tournaments, while he was playing for Liberty Professionals youth team. He became a regular member of Ghana U20 team at the age of 16 as they finished runners-up at the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship in Argentina, losing out to the hosts in the final. Despite impressing during a trial with Manchester United after the tournament, he ended up joining Italian club Udinese.
He joined Udinese in 2001, where his first season was spent in the reserves. He made his first-team debut on 6 November 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 23 appearances, and increased his standing to 33 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.
Muntari had already indicated a desire to move to the Premier League, when in early 2007 transfer bids were received from Portsmouth. He eventually opted for Portsmouth and transferred on 30 May 2007, for a new club record fee, believed to be around £7.1 million, signing a five-year contract. He was a regular member of the first XI throughout the 2007–08 season playing 29 League matches and scoring four goals. He had his debut on 11 August 2007 against Derby County in an away game. His performance of note was away at Aston Villa where he scored two spectacular long-range goals. He also played four FA Cup matches, scoring the winner from the penalty spot in a 1–0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Sixth Round of the FA Cup. He was in the starting XI that won the 2008 FA Cup Final at the Wembley Stadium. He left Fratton Park after one season to join Inter Milan.
On 2 March 2007, it was reported in the Italian press that Inter Milan were preparing a summer offer for the midfielder. Injuries to Esteban Cambiasso and Patrick Vieira underlined just how short of ball-winning midfielders the "Nerazzurri" were and they would remedy that problem in June 2007. Transfer consultants Marco Branca and Gabriele Oriali were looking around Europe for possible options and Muntari seemed to be their man at the insistence of coach Roberto Mancini, although Muntari ultimately went to Portsmouth in the summer of 2007. But on 21 July 2008 Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported that with the probable failure of new Inter coach José Mourinho to land his former Chelsea protégé Frank Lampard, Muntari was now his first choice central midfielder. The reports gathered pace in the Italian press in the next few days that Muntari had already agreed a four-year contract with Inter. But Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp told Sky Sports News "I don't want to sell him. He is one of my best players and is a terrific young talent" when quizzed about Inter's supposed interest in Muntari.
On 24 July 2008, BBC and Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Muntari would complete a €16 million plus bonuses move to Inter. He finally completed his move to Inter on 28 July 2008 and wore the number 20 jersey, previously worn by Álvaro Recoba for many years.
On 22 November 2008, Muntari scored the winner, redirecting a wayward Zlatan Ibrahimović shot, in the Derby d'Italia against rivals Juventus. Two weeks later, Muntari scored a backheel goal against Napoli at the San Siro after a great cross from Maicon, a match that ended 2–1 for Inter. In the very last Serie A match of the season on 31 May 2009 versus Atalanta, he opened the scoring for Inter after blasting in a Luís Figo cross from outside the penalty box. Later, his shot on goal was parried by the goalkeeper but Esteban Cambiasso scored from the rebound to make the score 3–3. Inter eventually won 4–3 and Muntari won his first Scudetto after his first season with the club.
In August 2009, his manager Jose Mourinho again found himself causing controversy after commenting that Muntari, a practicing Muslim, was lacking fitness and energy due to fasting during the month of Ramadan. He was reported to have said "Muntari had some problems related to Ramadan, perhaps with this heat it's not good for him to be doing this fasting. Ramadan has not arrived at the ideal moment for a player to play a football match." However, since these comments many Muslims and non-Muslims have come out in defence of Mourinho, saying that no offense was meant towards the player, but while the manager could have been more tactful in his treatment of the issue it stands to reason that a lack of food and water will affect a player's stamina and energy level.
On 15 January 2011, Inter technical director Marco Branca confirmed Muntari had handed in an official transfer request. A number of Premier League clubs were speculated to be interested in Muntari.
On 26 January 2011, Premier League club Sunderland were given permission to hold talks with Muntari, if agreed he would go on loan to the North East club. On 29 January, Muntari signed for Sunderland on loan from Inter until the end of the season. On 7 May 2011, he was initially credited with his first and only goal in a 2–1 win over Bolton Wanderers, but this was subsequently recorded as a Zat Knight own goal.
On 13 May 2011, Sunderland decided not to sign Muntari on a permanent basis, and he returned to Inter.
On 31 January 2012, Muntari joined Milan on loan. On 19 February 2012, Muntari scored his first goal as a Milan player on his debut, in a Serie A away match against Cesena, which Milan won 3–1. On 25 February 2012, Muntari scored an infamous header against Juventus from a cross of Emanuelson, but however the goal was disallowed despite clearly crossing the line by a distance that was later technologically measured to be over 30 centimeters and the match ended 1–1. Juventus went on to win the Serie A title that year beating Milan to the Scudetto by four points and many people saw that exact moment as the biggest and most controversial moment of the title race. On 10 April 2012, he scored the only goal in a Milan win at Chievo, giving his team an edge in the title race. On 2 May 2012, Muntari scored a goal against Atalanta, in a game that ended 2–0, and brought Milan one point behind leaders Juventus.
Massimiliano Allegri said to Milan Channel that Muntari would play with Milan for a further two years until June 2014 in May 2012. Muntari officially signed for Milan on a free transfer after his Inter contract expired on 1 July 2012. While on holiday in the off-season, Muntari picked up a knee injury playing beach football that could keep him out for the entire first half of the 2012–13 season. On 20 February 2013, Muntari scored a goal to give Milan a two goal lead against Barcelona ahead of the 2nd leg in the last 16 tie in the UEFA Champions League. However it was not enough as Barcelona knocked Milan out in the return leg at the Nou Camp.
In 8 May 2013, Muntari scored his first goal in 2012–13 season, in a match against Pescara, which Milan won 4–0. On 13 May 2013, Muntari was fined €10,000 and suspended for the last match of the 2012–13 season and opening game of the 2013–14 season after being sent off during a game against AS Roma for manhandling referee Gianluca Rocchi. On the 16 December Muntari scored a late goal against AS Roma to salvage a 2-2 draw. He was however sent off for the following match against his former club Inter Milan when he hit Zdravko Kuzmanović and was banned for three matches.
Muntari then was chosen for the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship as Ghana took second place.
He won his first senior cap against Slovenia on 17 May 2002, and became a regular fixture in the team as The Black Stars opened their 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign. He was selected for the Olympic side at Athens 2004, but was sent home for disciplinary reasons. This started a dispute between Muntari and his federation, and he said that he would refuse to play for his country again, beating the record for the youngest international retirement. He retracted, making a public apology to the federation, and was selected for the 2006 World Cup squad. He played in the first two matches, a 2–0 defeat by Italy and a 2–0 win over the Czech Republic, in which he scored, but having received a yellow cards in each game, he was suspended for the game against the United States, but returned for the second round match against Brazil, in which Ghana was eliminated.
He remained a regular member of the team, and appeared in the 2008 African Cup of Nations side, scoring the winner in the first group match against Guinea and the second goal in the last group match against Morocco. He scored his 3rd goal of the tournament when he scored a freekick against Côte d'Ivoire in the 3rd place play off. His goal against Guinea, a 25-metre left-footed pile-driver in the 89th minute was voted one of the Best Goals of the Tournament.
He was voted as an All-Star Player during the 2008 African Cup of Nations Tournament in Ghana. The Team of the Tournament was decided by the Technical Study Group (TSG) after careful observations of all the tournament's matches.
Although expected to play for Ghana in the 2010 African Cup of Nations in Angola, Muntari was excluded from the national team due to disciplinary problems. After purposefully missing an international friendly against Angola, he also snubbed a meeting with coach Milovan Rajevac. Muntari later issued a full apology to his country and coach.
Muntari was selected for Ghana's 2010 FIFA World Cup squad. After not being included in the starting line-up for the team's first two matches, Muntari was reportedly expelled from the squad for insulting Rajevac and his teammates. However, after an intervention by former captain Stephen Appiah, he was reinstated and went on to make two further substitute appearances against Germany and the USA before starting the quarter final against Uruguay in place of the suspended André Ayew. During the match Muntari scored a long range effort in first half stoppage time, putting Ghana ahead 1–0 at half-time.
- Score and Result lists Ghana's goals first
In December 2010, Muntari married Ghanaian businesswoman Menaye Donkor. He is a practicing Muslim. He observes fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadan. His younger brother is Sulley Muniru who plays for CFR Cluj in the Romanian Liga I.
- Inter Milan
- Serie A: 2008–09, 2009–10
- Coppa Italia: 2010
- Supercoppa Italiana: 2008, 2010
- UEFA Champions League: 2009–10
- FIFA Club World Cup: 2010
- Hawkey, Ian (7 April 2011). "Suleyman Ali Muntari is finding his own way to his goals". thenational.ae. The National (Abu Dhabi). Retrieved 29 February 2012.
- "FIFA profile - Sulley Muntari". fifa.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
- "I want to make it big in Europe – Muntari's brother Muniru". Goal. 13 March 2013.
- "World Youth Cup final: Argentina 3–0 Ghana". ghanaweb.com. 9 July 2001. Retrieved 4 April 2004.
- "Man Utd chasing Ghana teenager". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 15 May 2001. Retrieved 15 May 2001.
- "Ghana youth impresses at Man United". ghanaweb.com. 14 May 2001. Retrieved 23 July 2007.
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- "Muntari issues English plea". Sky Sports (BSkyB).
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- "Aston Villa 1-3 Portsmouth". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 8 December 2007. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
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- "Muntari sorpassa Xabi". Gazzetta dello Sport. 22 July 2007. Retrieved 22 July 2007.
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- Fraser, Peter (22 July 2007). "Harry – No Inter contact". Sky Sports (BSkyB). Retrieved 22 July 2007.
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- "L'Inter prende Muntari e congela Lampard". Gazzetta dello Sport. 24 July 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2008.
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- "Sulley Muntari arrives in Sunderland for talks over loan move". guardian.co.uk (London: Guardian News and Media). 27 January 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
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- Hughes, Ian (7 May 2011). "Bolton 1 – 2 Sunderland". BBC Sport. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
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- "AC Milan 2-0 Barcelona: Boateng and Muntari leave Catalans on brink". Goal.com. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- "Pescara 0-4 AC Milan: Balotelli double solidifies third spot". Goal.com. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- "Sulley Muntari sees red for manhandling referee". inside World Soccer. 13 May 2013.
- "Muntari rescues a point for hosts". ESPN. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 25 December2013.
- "Sulley Muntari given three-match ban". ESPN. 24 December 2013. Retrieved 25 December2013.
- Thomas, Durosimi (31 January 2001). "Mali Stumble As Africa Recovers In Meridian Cup". allAfrica.com (AllAfrica). Retrieved 8 January 2011.
- "Ghana – Italia". FIGC.it (in Italian). Italian Football Federation. 31 January 2001. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
- "Big blow to Ghana's Olympic team". ghanaweb.com. 11 August 2004. Retrieved 11 August 2004.
- "I Won’t Play For Ghana Again!". ghanaweb.com. 13 August 2004. Retrieved 13 August 2004.
- "Muntari Asks For Pardon". ghanaweb.com. 17 September 2004. Retrieved 17 September 2004.
- "2008 ANC: BBC's Top 10 Goals". dailymotion. 10 February 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008.
- "CAF names Best XI for Ghana 2008 ACN". CAF Online. 10 February 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008.
- "Muntari was axed by Ghana over disciplinary problems". GhanaSoccerNet. 18 December 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2009.[dead link]
- "Muntari issues grovelling apology". GhanaSoccerNet. 21 December 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2009.[dead link]
- Muntari sent home after insulting head coach - report. www.ghanaweb.com. Monday, 21 June 2010. Retrieved Tuesday, 22 June 2010.
- Muntari nearly sent home. Sportal, sportal.com.au. Tuesday, 22 June 2010. Retrieved Wednesday, 23 June 2010.
- Sulley Muntari & Menaye Donkor’s Wedding! The Ghanaian Journal, 28 December 2010.
- Menaye Donkor - Royal Stool Bearer and Title Holder Shirlene Alusa-Brown, Modern Ghana. 20 May 2008.
- Jose Mourinho's Ramadan row over fasting Inter Milan star Sulley Muntari angers Muslim leader. Daily Mail. 27 August 2009.
- "Muntari, Sulley Ali". National Football Teams. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sulley Muntari.|
- SulleyMuntari.com – Sulley Muntari's official website
- Sulley Muntari career stats at Soccerbase
- Sulley Muntari at National-Football-Teams.com
- Muntari Stats Page – RAI Sport
- Muntari Stats Page – Gazzetta dello Sport
- Premier League profile
|Ghana national football team captain