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Michael Essien

Michael Essien (born December 3, 1982 in Accra) is a Ghanaian footballer. He currently plays for Chelsea in the English Premier League. He is an all-action box-to-box central midfielder and plays as a deep-lying playmaker for Ghana.

Born in Accra, Essien began his career in a local club in his native Ghana, called Liberty Professionals. He broke through when he played in the Under-17 World Cup in 1999 in New Zealand. This led to considerable attention from European scouts.

In July 1999, French club SC Bastia signed Essien. At Bastia, he did not command a regular place in the team, playing at right back, left back and in central defense. Then because of an injury to one of his teammates, he was given a temporary opportunity to play in central midfield. Essien flourished in this new role. In 2001, even though he was one of the youngest players in the tournament, he took part in the World Youth Championship in Argentina, and performed exceptionally well. He made his Ghana senior debut in the 2002 African Nations Cup.

Soon he was compared to Frenchman Patrick Vieira because of his ability to go from box to box. In 2002/2003 season he brought Bastia into the UEFA Cup. He scored six goals that season. He became physically stronger and a harder tackler. Soon Paris Saint-Germain, Olympique Lyonnais and Olympique de Marseille made offers for him. He was not only popular in France, but also in England. Both major Merseyside teams, Liverpool F.C. and Everton F.C., made offers for him.

PSG made the best offer and Bastia accepted it, but Essien rejected it, and moved to Lyon. At Lyon, Essien played more defensive midfield, featuring regularly in the Lyon team that won the third and fourth of their current string of five consecutive Ligue 1 titles.

In August 2005, Essien declared that he would "go on strike" against Lyon because of the club's refusal to transfer him to English Premiership champions Chelsea. It was announced on 14 August that Lyon and Chelsea had agreed a £26m fee for the Ghanaian, finally ending one of the longest running transfer sagas in recent English football history. Essien is now Chelsea's second most expensive signing after the club signed Ukraine forward and captain Andriy Shevchenko from A.C. Milan on 22 May, 2006.

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The transfer went through on 19 August, purportedly for a slightly reduced fee of £24.4m, nevertheless breaking Chelsea's previous record transfer fee, which they achieved the previous season by paying £24m for Olympique Marseille's Didier Drogba. He made his debut against Arsenal F.C. on August 21, wearing the number 5 on his shirt. He soon cemented his place in José Mourinho's side, starting the majority of the league games since his debut. He made an assist in his full debut against West Bromwich Albion F.C., and he replaced the injured Claude Makélélé in the defensive midfield role against Sunderland A.F.C. in the 2-0 win on September 10, 2005. The Chelsea midfield looks to have been strengthened by the powerful, athletic Essien, who could well form part of the Chelsea midfield with Frank Lampard for years to come.

Personal information
Full name Michael Essien
Date of birth December 3, 1982
Place of birth Accra, Ghana
Height 1.81 m (6.0)
Nickname The Bison
Position Central/Right midfielder, Right-back
Centre back
Club information
Current club Chelsea
Number 5
Professional clubs*
Years Club Apps (goals)
Sporting Club de Bastia
Olympique Lyonnais
62 (11)
71 0(7)
51 0(3)
National team**
2002–present Ghana 23 0(5)
* Professional club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only and
correct as of 18:32, 29 December 2006 (UTC).
** National team caps and goals correct
as of December 20, 2006.

On 15 December, he was handed a 2-match ban by UEFA for a controversial tackle on Dietmar Hamann, which resulted in his suspension from Chelsea's UEFA Champions League second round tie with eventual European champions F.C. Barcelona. Chelsea lost the two-legged tie, 3-2 on aggregate. Essien apologised to Hamann for the challenge (Hamann publicly accepted the apology) and insists that while he desires to be perceived as a player who 'unsettles' opponents, he is not a malicious or unsporting player. In January 2006, Essien was himself stretchered off the field, the victim of a poor (and unpunished) challenge from West Ham United captain Nigel Reo-Coker, which sidelined him for three weeks.

Essien scored his first goal for Chelsea in March 2006, in a 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur. His second goal came on 17 April 2006 against Everton. Essien ended his debut season in England with 2 goals for Chelsea, both in the Premier League. However, the arrival of midfielders Michael Ballack from Bayern Munich and John Obi Mikel from F.C. Lyn Oslo in May 2006 meant that Essien faced fierce competition to be selected for Chelsea.

On 16 May, 2006, Essien was selected to be part of the team that represented Ghana at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He played in midfield with team captain Stephen Appiah of Fenerbahçe and Sulley Ali Muntari of Udinese. Essien played in Ghana's 0-2 defeat to Italy, their 2-0 victory over the Czech Republic, and the 2-1 victory over the United States, and helped Ghana become the only African team to reach the second round of the 2006 World Cup. However, Essien was suspended for Ghana's second round match against Brazil and could only watch as Ghana lost 0-3.

Upon the team's return to Ghana, Essien said that the team had gained invaluable experience and will be aiming to make the next finals, which will be held in Africa for the first time in the tournament's history at South Africa 2010.

On September 12, Essien scored his first UEFA Champions League goal for Chelsea in a 2-0 victory over Werder Bremen of Germany. To date he has a total of 6 goals in competitive games for Chelsea, including a powerful, curling equalizer against Arsenal on December 10, 2006 from approximately 35 yards from goal. The spectacular strike sent the home crowd into uproar. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, with Essien receiving the Man of the Match.

A "world class" midfielder, Essien was nominated for the 2006 FIFA World Player of the Year Award on October 12, 2006. One week later, he was nominated for the 2006 Ballon d'Or. He was also nominated for the 2005 FIFA World Player of the Year Award. He placed 22nd in 2005. He is currently one of five finalists for African Footballer of the Year.[1].


  • French Cup with SC Bastia Runner-up: 2002
  • French Ligue 1 with Olympique Lyon Winner: 2003/04, 2004/05
  • FA Premier League with Chelsea F.C Winner: 2006
National team
  • 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship 3rd Place: 1999
  • FIFA World Youth Championship Runner-up: 2001
  • FIFA World Player of the Year - 22nd 2005, 2006 Nomination
  • Ballon d'Or - 22nd 2005, 2006 Nomination
  • African Footballer of the Year - 3rd 2005
  • CAF's Africa Top 50 Best Players of All-Time - Nomination
  • 2005 France Player of the Year - Winner
  • FIFA Player of the Game: 2006 Fifa World Cup Ghana vs. Czech Republic
  • The Most Expensive Summer Transfer of 2005 [from Lyon to Chelsea]
  • The Most Expensive African Footballer of all-time [€38M]
  • FIFA All-Star Midfielder
  • On the Cover of FIFA Magazine May 2006


  • "The first things that people see about Michael is his energy and tackling, and they classify him as a holding midfielder, a destroyer type of player. What they don't often realise is that he can also be very dangerous going forward. His positioning to receive the ball is very good, and he knows when and where to place a pass." - Former Olympique Lyon and current Glasgow Rangers manager Paul Le Guen on his former player.
  • "Essien is a great player. He can play every position in midfield. Where he is perfect in choices. In football, the most difficult thing is to choose well, and in every situation he chooses well. He presses, stays in position, passes long, passes short, first touch, two touches. He controls the pace of the game, fast or slow. He is midfield multifunctional, he is dynamic and strong. The boy has incredible physical power, he is super resistant with great speed and unending tactical abilities." - Chelsea F.C Coach José Mourinho on his midfielder in May 2006 FIFA Magazine
  • FIFA.com says "Essien, Lyon's quietly rampaging buffalo"
  • The Guardian says "Essien: The very model of a modern midfield general"
  • Interview in FIFA Magazine, May 2006(pdf)

Wiki Source


Le retour du Bison, that's all I have to say about this quality, world class player.

essien is best among the best. I like is style of play.

I love Michael Essien System of play, and like my club the blues.

Essien is one of the best players in Africa and one of the best players in England

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