Franck Kessié

Franck Yannick Kessié (French pronunciation: [fʁɑ̃k kɛsje]; born 19 December 1996) is an Ivorian professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Italian club Milan and the Ivory Coast national team.

Franck Kessié
Kessié with the Ivory Coast in 2017
Personal information
Full name Franck Yannick Kessié[1]
Date of birth (1996-12-19) 19 December 1996 (age 24)
Place of birth Ouragahio, Ivory Coast
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Position(s) Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Number 79
Youth career
2010–2014 Stella Club
2014–2015 Atalanta
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2015–2019 Atalanta 30 (6)
2015–2016Cesena (loan) 38 (4)
2017–2019Milan (loan) 71 (12)
2019– Milan 66 (14)
National team
2013 Ivory Coast U17 5 (0)
2015 Ivory Coast U20 4 (0)
2014– Ivory Coast 46 (4)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19:13, 21 April 2021 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 23:12, 30 March 2021 (UTC)

Club career

Born in Ouragahio, Kessié began his career in Stella Club d'Adjamé, joining their youth setup in 2010.[2] In 2014, he was promoted to the first team.[3]


On 29 January 2015, Kessié signed a three-year contract with Serie A club Atalanta.[4] 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.[citation needed]

On 18 April 2015, Kessié was called up to the first team for a match against Roma,[5] but remained an unused substitute in the 1–1 draw the following day.

Cesena (loan)

On 26 August 2015, Kessié joined Cesena in the Serie B on a one-year loan deal.[6] He made his professional debut on 26 September, coming on as a substitute for Antonino Ragusa in a 0–0 away draw against Perugia.[7]

Kessié scored his first professional goal on 31 October 2015, netting the last in a 2–0 home win against Virtus Lanciano.[8] 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, Kessié was promoted to the first team by manager Gian Piero Gasperini.[9] 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.[10] Six days later, he renewed his contract until 2021.[11]

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.[12] He scored another goal seven days later, in a 2–1 away defeat to Sampdoria.[13]

Kessié subsequently became a mainstay in Gasperini's starting eleven, scoring the winners against Torino (2–1 home win)[14] and Roma (2–1 home win),[15] both through penalties. He also scored the equalizer against Empoli on 20 December 2016, with Marco D'Alessandro scoring a last-minute winner.[16]


On 2 June 2017, Kessié joined fellow Serie A side Milan on a two-year loan deal with the obligation to buy.[17][18] 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 does not want to force A.C. Milan fans to spend any extra money on his personalized shirts due to yet another number change.[19]

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.[20] 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.[21] In a match on 21 January 2018, Kessié scored two goals, one being from the penalty spot, to give Milan the win. On 12 July 2020, he scored a penalty for a final 2–2 score against S.S.C. Napoli. The 23-year-old Ivorian scored 4 goals and 3 assists in the first 10 matches in Serie A 2020-21 season.

International career

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 Kessié was aged 22 and not 16;[22] 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.[23] On 4 January 2017, he was included in Michel Dussuyer's 23-man squad ahead of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations,[24] starting in all matches as his side was knocked out in the group stage.

At the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, he finished as the joint-top assist provider of the tournament, alongside Ismaël Bennacer, with three assists. His team were eliminated in the quarter-finals by eventual champions Algeria, after losing 4–3 on penalties following a 1–1 draw on 11 July; Kessié converted his nation's first penalty in the shoot-out.[25][26][27]

Personal life

When Kessié was 11 years old, his father, who used to be a professional footballer in his youth before enlisting in the Ivorian army, died due to an illness. Therefore, one of his goal celebrations is a military salute performed in order to pay tribute to his late father.[28]

Career statistics


As of match played 21 April 2021[29]
Club Season League Cup Continental Other Total
Cesena (loan) 2015–16 Serie B 37400374
Atalanta 2016–17 Serie A 30611317
Milan (loan) 2017–18 Serie A 37550120545
2018–19 34740301[lower-alpha 1]0427
Milan 2019–20 Serie A 35430384
2020–21 3110201114411
Total 137261402611017827
Career total 204361512611024638
  1. Appearance in Supercoppa Italiana


As of match played 30 March 2021.[30]
Ivory Coast
International goals
As of match played 30 March 2021.
International goals by date, venue, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 16 November 2019Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Abidjan, Ivory Coast Niger1–01–02021 Africa Cup of Nations qualification
2 8 October 2020King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium Belgium1–11–1Friendly
3 17 November 2020Barikadimy Stadium, Toamasina, Madagascar Madagascar1–01–12021 Africa Cup of Nations qualification
4 30 March 2021Stade National, Abidjan, Ivory Coast Ethiopia2–03–1


  1. "Cote d'Ivoire" (PDF). Confederation of African Football. 15 June 2019. p. 7. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  2. "Charles Onwuakpa writes a detailed scout report about Franck Kessié". 15 April 2017. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  3. "Charles Onwuakpa writes a detailed scout report about Franck Kessié". 15 April 2017. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  4. "Stella Club: Kessié signe à l'Atalanta Bergame" [Stella Club: Kessié signs with Atalanta Bergamo] (in French). Afrik-Foot. 30 January 2015. Archived from the original on 26 March 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  5. "Atalanta, 22 convocati per Roma: prima per Kessie" [Atalanta, 22 called up for Roma: first for Kessie] (in Italian). Calcio News 24. 18 April 2015. Archived from the original on 17 May 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  6. "Kessie è un giocatore del Cesena" [Kessie is a Cesena player] (in Italian). A.C. Cesena. 26 August 2015. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  7. "Perugia–Cesena 0–0, tensioni dopo la gara" [Perugia–Cesena 0–0, tension after the match] (in Italian). Umbria On. 26 September 2015. Archived from the original on 17 May 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  8. "Il Lanciano gioca bene ma perde a Cesena per 2 a 0" [Lanciano play well but lose to Cesena by 2–0] (in Italian). Il Centro. 31 October 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  9. "Atalanta, Gasperini scopre il jolly Kessie, ivoriano che sogna Yaya Touré" [Atalanta, Gasperini discovers the wildcard Kessie, Ivorian who resembles Yaya Touré] (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. 18 July 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  10. "Alla Dea basta un tempo: 3–0" [To Dea one half is enough: 3–0] (in Italian). Ecco di Bergamo. 14 August 2016. Archived from the original on 26 March 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  11. "Franck Kessie rinnova fino al 30 giugno 2021" [Franck Kessie renews until 30 June 2021] (in Italian). Atalanta B.C. 19 August 2016. Archived from the original on 26 March 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  12. "Atalanta 3–4 Lazio". Football Italia. 21 August 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  13. "Sampdoria 2–1 Atalanta". Football Italia. 28 August 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  14. "Atalanta 2–1 Torino". Football Italia. 11 September 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  15. "Atalanta 2–1 Roma". Football Italia. 20 November 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  16. "Atalanta 2–1 Empoli". Football Italia. 20 December 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  17. "Official: Kessie is now red and black". A.C. Milan Official Site. 2 June 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  18. "Ivory Coast's Franck Kessie joins AC Milan from Atalanta". BBC Sport. 2 June 2017. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  19. "AC Milan, Kessie: 'Gasperini is angrier than Gattuso!'". 14 February 2019.
  20. "Newcomers Ricardo Rodriguez, Franck Kessie lift Milan past FC U Craiova". ESPN. 27 July 2017. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  21. "Kessie, Cutrone, Suso in form as Milan begins Serie A campaign with win". ESPN. 20 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  22. "CM U17 – Scandale, Franck Kessié (16 ans) aurait 22 ans" [U17 WC – Scandal, Franck Kessié (16 years) 22 years old] (in French). Espoirs du Football. 30 October 2013. Archived from the original on 3 June 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  23. "Cote D'Ivoire 2–1 Sierra Leone: The Elephants toil to overturn lead". 6 September 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  24. "Afcon 2017: Wilfried Zaha in Ivory Coast's final squad". BBC Sport. 4 January 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  25. Otieno, Imran (20 July 2019). "Top Assists charts at the 2019 African Cup of Nations". Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  26. "Côte d'Ivoire 1-1 Algeria". 11 July 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  27. "Algeria claim second Afcon title after Bounedjah's lucky strike sinks Senegal". Guardian News & Media Limited. 19 July 2019. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  29. Franck Kessié at Soccerway. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  30. "Franck Kessié". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman. Retrieved 25 March 2017.