Once heralded as a potential African great thanks to his combination of strength, pace and poise early on, Addo, a combative central defender who can also play as a defensive midfielder, had his budding career blighted by knee injuries.
Born in the Ghanaian capital Accra, Addo began his European career brightly at Club Brugge in 1996 and over three seasons at the Jan Breydelstadion made 65 appearances, scoring five goals. At Brugges, he was viewed as a potential superstar on the European stage, after bursting into the first team ranks and helping them to win the Belgian Championship. He was voted the 1997–98 Young Belgian Footballer of the Year by Belgian journalists and Ghana Player of the Year the same season. He also won the Belgian Ebony Shoe award for being the best African player (or player with African roots) in the Belgian league. The jury was composed of the league clubs' coaches, the Belgian national team coach, sports journalists and an honorary jury.
Addo joined PSV Eindhoven during summer 1999 on a five-year contract, although he spent most of his first three years injured or as a substitute. He played just 24 times during this period, going out on loan at Roda JC for two years – before finally becoming a regular, as PSV retained their Eredivisie title in 2006. "I'm hoping now to show at Roda what I can do," Addo told Dutch magazine Voetbal International. "When I moved to PSV there was a lot of pressure and obviously it got worst when I was injured. They paid a lot of money for me. I still need to show the supporters what I am capable of and the move to Roda is the solution for me."
His last game for PSV in the UEFA Champions League was a 1–0 away loss at Anfield against Liverpool F.C., in the 2006–07 quarterfinal second leg. PSV lost 4–0 on aggregate to the 2005 UEFA Champions League winners, after losing 3–0 at home.
On 29 April 2007, Addo won his fifth Eredivisie Championship with PSV in 2006–2007, with a 5–1, final day home victory against Vitesse Arnhem. Pre-match, PSV, Ajax and AZ Alkmaar were tied on 72 points. PSV coach Ronald Koeman started Alex and Addo at the heart of defence in the decider.
On 3 April 2007, Addo told BBC Sport that "I will not extend my contract with PSV because things are not improving here for me. The African Cup of Nations is getting close and if I have to stay I should be guaranteed more playing time to be fit for the tournament in Ghana." He added, "The club understands my situation and they have agreed to allow me to leave at the end of the season."
On 22 April 2007, Addo was linked with a move to Galatasaray S.K. in the Dutch media. He was also linked with FC Twente, whose manager Fred Rutten knows Addo from his time at PSV. However, on 22 May 2007, Addo changed his mind and signed a new contract extension with PSV.
On 26 October 2007, Addo was charged with 'committing an act of gross unsporting conduct' and received a four match ban from UEFA for spitting at Fenerbahçe player Semih Şentürk during an ill-tempered Champions League match on 23 October. PSV later claimed that he was provoked by the striker who elbowed him moments before the incident occurred; this explanation was rejected by the association.
Addo was given the chance to represent his adopted country, Belgium, in the 1998 FIFA World Cup, but instead opted to play for his homeland. However, after playing in the 1998 African Cup of Nations, he spent six years in the international wilderness.
He was a member of the Ghanaian squad at the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals, playing in all four of Ghana's games including the exit to Brazil in the second round. His last game for Ghana was against Mexico in an international friendly in London, UK on 26 March 2008.
His brother Ransford plays for Shanghai East Asia. Eric Addo attended St Anthony's Preparatory School at South Odorkor in Ghana; even at this early developmental stage, he showed great ability when playing soccer with his peers and student in grades ahead of him.PSV Eindhoven
Eredivisie Winner: 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08
KNVB Cup Winner: 2004–05. Runner-up: 2005–06
Johan Cruijff Schaal Winner: 2000, 2001. Runner-up: 2005, 2006
Belgian First Division Winner: 1997–98
Belgian Supercup Winner: 1996, 1998
Africa Cup of Nations Bronze Medal: 2008
Africa Cup of Nations Silver Medal: 2010
FIFA World Cup last 16: 2006
Belgian Young Footballer of the Year Winner: 1997–98
Belgian Ebony Shoe Award Winner: 1998
Ghana Footballer of the Year Award Winner: 1998