3. Gerald Asamoah
Gerald Asamoah is a tough guy to rank on such a list for a couple of reasons. First of all, he is my favorite player. Ever. Second of all, he is a lot of people’s favorite player. Ever. But it wasn’t just because he was a great athlete, it was because he was a great human being. Or rather, is a great human being, as he continues to do so much good work for the sport and the world.
Asamoah was instrumental in breaking down racial barriers in Germany, a country miles behind the advances that England and France were undergoing to oust racism from their respective leagues. And even if Asamoah never saw himself as the crusader that he ended up being, he was, in fact, that exact crusader.
And when it wasn’t a history of racism that he was confronting, it was his own body, as he had to fight through an on-pitch collapse to even stay in the sport.
Yet he never stopped smiling. And he probably never will.
On most statistical lists, you’ll find Asamoah in the top ten, but on this list, you find him higher for the impact he made off the pitch. Because here we are, this far into recapping his career, and I haven’t even gotten to his on-the-pitch contributions yet.
While FC Schalke obviously never won the league with Asamoah, they continuously came close, finishing second and third time and time again, never able to get across the final hurdle.
Overall, Asamoah finished with 381 total appearances with the Gelsenkirchen, scoring 64 goals in that time. But don’t ever take this man just for what he did on the pitch with a ball.
No. 2 is next.