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The Italian midfielder was renowned for his aggressive behavior on the pitch

Former Juventus midfielder Stephen Appiah has mentioned ex-AC Milan star Gennaro Gattuso as the toughest opponent he has come up against.

The 42-year old Italian, now manager of Napoli, was widely known for his aggressive and brash approach to games involving very heavy tackles and scuffles with other players on the pitch.

This made him popularly referred to as Ringhio which meant snarl.

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Gattuso had a career that spanned 18 years playing for Perugia, Rangers, Salernitana, AC Milan, and Sion.

He won a total of 11 titles during his career including the Champions League in 2003 and 2007 after seeing off Juventus and Liverpool respectively, and the 2006 World Cup with Italy. He earned 73 caps for the Azzurri.

Since retiring, Gattuso has gone into management and has been in charge of Sion, Palermo, OFI Crete, Milan, and Napoli.

Gattuso took over at Napoli from Carlo Ancelotti who was his manager during his playing days at Milan where he forged a solid midfield partnership with Andrea Pirlo.

“The toughest player I faced was Gennaro Gattuso and that was when I played for Udinese,” Appiah said in an Instagram Live interview.

“We faced Salernitana, a team from the southern part of Italy and that was where Gattuso was playing at the time.

“He was so difficult to play against and he even broke my tooth by the time the match came to an end. He just would not allow you to go away with the ball.

“He was really the toughest among the likes of Emerson, Demetrio Albertini, and the many others I came up against.”

Appiah had multiple stints in Italy with his two-year stay at Juventus between 2003 and 2005 being the most popular. He also played for Udinese, Parma, Brescia, Bologna and Cesena.

Outside Italy, Appiah played for Fenerbahce and Vojvodina in Serbia where he wrapped up his career in 2012. The 39-year old was capped 67 times by Ghana, scoring 14 goals.

He played at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups in Germany and South Africa respectively with the Black Stars reaching the Round of 16 and quarter-finals where they lost to South American powerhouses Brazil and Uruguay.


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