“He’s my son” – Liberian Woman Claims She’s FC Barcelona, Ivorian Star Franck Yannick Késsié’s Mother
MONROVIA – A Liberian woman, Nancy Payne, is claiming that she is the biological mother of Barcelona and Ivorian midfielder Franck Yannick Késsié.
Appearing on OK FM, a local radio station in Monrovia, Nancy said she gave birth to Késsié and another male child by an Ivorian man while living in Sinoe County, a southeastern region of Liberia.
She said the boys were taken to the Ivory Coast by their father to attend school, but since then, she has not established contact with them.
Kessié’s profile on several websites only named his parents as Mr. and Mrs. Késsié. Some give detail account about his father who died due to an illness when Kessié was just 11 years old, with nothing being said about his mother.
The Ivorian International’s father is said to have been a professional footballer in his youth before enlisting in the Ivorian army.
Contrary to Nancy’s claim that he was born in Sinoe, her home county in Liberia, FC Barcelona, on its website states that he was born on December 19,1996 in Ouragahio, a town in south-central Ivory Coast. Ouragahio is also the home of Ivory Coast international footballers Wilfried Singo, Serge Aurier, Franck Kessié, Siriki Dembélé and David Datro Fofana.
Kessié’s road to success
Kessié began his career at Abidjan-based Stella Club d’Adjamé, joining their youth setup in 2010 before gaining promotion to the first team 2014.
On 29 January 2015, Kessié 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 AC Milan Primavera.
On 26 August 2015, Kessié 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.
Back at Atalanta after returning from loan, Kessié 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 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.
On 2 June 2017, Kessié joined fellow Serie A side AC 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, Kessié 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 did not want to force 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 against Cagliari on 21 January 2018, Kessié scored two goals, one being from the penalty spot, to give Milan the win.
2021–22: Scudetto winner and departure
On 12 September 2021 against Lazio, Kessie won a penalty kick but failed to convert it; Milan still managed to win the match 2–0. On 28 September, in a UEFA Champions League match against Atlético Madrid, as Milan was leading by 1–0, Kessie was sent off in the 29th minute, his side eventually lost 1–2. On 31 October against Roma, he converted a penalty kick to score the second and seal a 2–1 victory for Milan. On 7 November, while playing against Inter he fouled Hakan Çalhanoğlu in the penalty box, causing a penalty kick which the latter scored in a 1–1 draw. On 4 December, Kessie scored the first goal against Salernitana in an eventual 2–0 win. On 22 December, Kessie scored a brace against Empoli, reaching 14 Serie A goals during the 2021 calendar year; the last AC Milan midfielder to score so much in a single calendar year was Kaká in 2008.
On 22 May 2022, Kessie scored the third goal in a 3-0 rout against Sassuolo, sealing the Scudetto title for the club; after the goal, Kessie went to Milan fans at the Mapei Stadium and did his trademark salute, it was Kessie’s last match and goal with Milan, as he announced his departure a few days later and thanked the fans.
On 4 July 2022, Barcelona announced that they had reached an agreement with Kessiè after his contract expires with AC Milan and on 6 July, he signed a four-year deal until 30 June 2026, and his buyout clause will be set at €500m.
On 13 August 2022, he made his debut for the club, as a substitute to Pedri, in a 0–0 draw against Rayo Vallecano in the league. On 19 March 2023, Kessiè scored the winning goal against Real Madrid in El Clasico, his first for the club, hitting home Alejandro Balde’s cutback in the 92nd minute.