Full name: Franck Kessie
Date of birth: 19 December 1996
Place of birth: Ouragahio, Cote d’Ivoire
Height: 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
National team: Cote d’Ivoire
Nationality: Cote d’Ivoire
Agent: Ambition Group
Joined: 01 July 2017
Contract until: 30.06.2022
Franck Yannick Kessié is an Ivorian footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Serie A club Milan and the Ivory Coast national team.
Born in Ouragahio, Franck Kessie began his career in Stella Club d’Adjamé, joining their youth setup in 2010. In 2014, he was promoted to the first team.
When Franck Kessie was 11 years old, his father, a professional footballer in his youth who later joined the Ivorian army, died due to illness. Therefore, one of his goal celebrations is a military salute performed in order to pay tribute to his late father. That is a peculiar celebration that is unique to him.
AC Milan career
On 2 June 2017, Franck Kessie joined fellow Serie A side Milan on a two-year loan deal with the obligation to buy. Originally, he chose 19 as his shirt number but soon was persuaded by the club’s management to leave it for Leonardo Bonucci, who transferred to Milan a few weeks later; as a result, Franck Kessie changed it to 79. Following Bonucci’s departure in the next summer transfer window, he was offered his original shirt number back yet refused, citing that he does not want to force A.C. Milan fans to spend any extra money on his personalized shirts due to yet another number change.
He made his debut for Milan and helped the club to win the first leg of Europa League qualification match against CS U Craiova on 27 July. On 20 August 2017, in Milan’s opening Serie A match of the season, he scored a penalty in a 3–0 victory over Crotone. In a match on January 21, 2018, Franck Kessie scored two goals, one being from the penalty spot, to give A.C Milan the win.
On 29 January 2015, Franck Kessie signed a three-year contract with Serie A club Atalanta. He was assigned to the club’s Primavera squad upon his arrival, and contributed with seven appearances for the side. His first match in Europe occurred on 1 March, as he started in a 2–0 away win against A.C. Milan Primavera.
On 18 April 2015, Franck Kessie was called up to the first team for a match against Roma, but remained an unused substitute in the 1–1 draw the following day.
On 26 August 2015, Franck Kessie joined Cesena in the Serie B on a one-year loan deal. He made his professional debut on 26 September, coming on as a substitute for Antonino Ragusa in a 0–0 away draw against Perugia.
Kessié scored his first professional goal on 31 October 2015, netting the last in a 2–0 home win against Virtus Lanciano. He became an undisputed starter afterwards, appearing in 37 matches and scoring four goals as his side missed out promotion in the play-offs.
Return to Atalanta
After returning from loan, Franck Kessie was promoted to the first team by manager Gian Piero Gasperini. After appearing with the main squad during the pre-season, he made his debut for La Dea on 13 August 2016, starting and scoring the last in a 3–0 Coppa Italia home win against Cremonese. Six days later, he renewed his contract until 2021.
Kessié made his debut in the main category of Italian football on 21 August 2016, as he started and scored a brace in a 4–3 home loss against Lazio. He scored another goal seven days later, in a 2–1 away defeat to Sampdoria.
Franck Kessie subsequently became a mainstay in Gasperini’s starting eleven, scoring the winners against Torino (2–1 home win) and Roma (2–1 home win), both through penalties. He also scored the equalizer against Empoli on 20 December 2016, with Marco D’Alessandro scoring a last-minute winner.
Kessié represented Ivory Coast at under-17 and under-20 levels, appearing in the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup and 2015 Toulon Tournament. During the former tournament, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation submitted a complaint to FIFA claiming that Franck Kessie was aged 22 and not 16; FIFA later denied that claim.
At the age of 17, Kessié played his first international game with the senior national team on 6 September 2014, starting in a 2–1 home win against Sierra Leone for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualification. On 4 January 2017, he was included in Michel Dussuyer’s 23-man squad ahead of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, starting in all matches as his side was knocked out in the group stage.