Adversity toughens, and if anyone should know the extent to which it does, it’s Ghana international Kwadwo Asamoah.
A career bounding finely from peak to peak got knocked off its trajectory by injury in November 2014 which, compounded by a few more fitness issues of major and minor sorts, temporarily halted Asamoah’s rapid advancement. Recovery was eventually attained, the fullness of which took the best part of two years to come, but a Juventus team he had enjoyed a regular starting berth in prior to his struggles no longer seemed the place to be. Shunted to the left flank, Asamoah’s natural role in midfield wasn’t one he stood a fair chance of being re-instated in, with Juve not lacking in talent for that particular space.
In any case, Juve themselves may have entertained the thought of letting go of an asset-turned-liability at some point and, as soon as the applause grew the loudest it could have post-injury, Asamoah opted against a continued existence as a Bianconeri — even though the Old Lady actually offered to extend a contract that expired in summer of 2018.
The life Asamoah chose instead, at Juve’s arch-rivals Inter Milan, isn’t as rosy as that enjoyed in Turin: no ‘default’ titles, harder work than usual, and few guaranteed rewards, if any. It’s tough alright, but it’s just the kind of life all those long, difficult years at Juve — spent battling injury, recovering from them, contending for a place on the team, and playing in relatively uncomfortable spots when picked – would have prepared him for.
Minutes would come in the hundreds each week at the Giuseppe Meazza for the 29-year-old under Luciano Spalletti, perhaps even in the area of the park where he thrives and does his best work, but Asamoah would be required to bring all his experiences – good, bad and ugly — to bear as Inter attempt to crack Juve’s unyielding hold on Italian football, while making a splash in Europe after a lengthy absence.
The journey back to the top would be tough for the Nerazzuri, with as many – if not more — lows as highs along the way, but Asamoah has personally faced enough of those to help his new teammates overcome whatever may await. Even better, he has acquired a winning mentality solid enough to lead the charge, having arrived at Juve quite green and undecorated but departing a serial winner.
And so Asamoah would look at whatever brief Spalletti hands him and probably flash a knowing grin. He’s seen it all before, really. It’s what he’s made for, after all.