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Michael Essien

Michael Kojo Essien (also known as Mickaël Essien; born 3 December 1982) is a Ghanaian Association football who plays for Chelsea F.C. and the Ghana national football team. Michael Essien is a midfielder who has often been touted as a Midfielder "Box-to-box" midfielder for Michael Essien ability to exert boundless energy in supporting offensive and defensive play. Essien can also play in the Defender (association football) position, as a right back or centre back.

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Michael Essien biography

Michael Kojo Essien (also known as Mickaël Essien; born 3 December 1982) is a Ghanaian Association football who plays for Chelsea F.C. and the Ghana national football team. Michael Essien is a midfielder who has often been touted as a Midfielder "Box-to-box" midfielder for Michael Essien ability to exert boundless energy in supporting offensive and defensive play. Essien can also play in the Defender (association football) position, as a right back or centre back.

Essien began Michael Essien career playing for Liberty Professionals F.C. in Michael Essien home country. In 2000, Michael Essien moved to France joining SC Bastia. Essien spent three seasons at the club appearing in over 60 matches before joining 2002–03 Ligue 1 Olympique Lyonnais in 2003. At Lyon, Essien won back-to-back league titles in Ligue 1 2003–04 and Ligue 1 2004–05 and also played in the UEFA Champions League for the first time. During Michael Essien five-year stint in France, Michael Essien acquired French citizenship. In 2005, Essien signed with Chelsea for a fee of £24.4 million and, at the time of Michael Essien signing, was the most expensive African footballer in history. At Chelsea, Essien helped the club win the Premier League in 2005–06 FA Premier League and 2009–10 Premier League, as well as three FA Cups and one Football League Cup. In 2008, Michael Essien appeared in the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final. Michael Essien has won the Chelsea Player of the Year award twice, in the 2006–07 and 2008–09 seasons.

Essien is a Ghana national football team. At youth level, Michael Essien represented Michael Essien country at the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship and 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship with the latter team finishing as runner-up. Essien made Michael Essien senior team debut in January 2002 and has represented Michael Essien nation at three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and the 2006 FIFA World Cup, where Ghana reached the 2006 FIFA World Cup Knockout stage. Michael Essien is often referred to as the Bison for Michael Essien tough tackling style, boundless energy and physical presence on the pitch.

Club career


In July 2000, Essien was signed by French Ligue 1 club SC Bastia and made Michael Essien debut for the club on 30 September 2000 in a league match against FC Metz appearing as a substitute for captain Laurent Casanova. Essien did not immediately command a consistent place in the team, being deployed in various positions in the Defender (association football). Michael Essien ultimately finished the 2000–01 Division 1 with only 13 league appearances and one goal, which came in the return leg against Metz in a 3–2 defeat. The 2001–02 French Division 1, Essien was given an opportunity by manager Robert Nouzaret to play in central midfield and flourished in this new role. Essien formed midfield partnerships with Nicolas Dieuze and Cyril Jeunechamp and scored vital goals in victories over FC Nantes, FC Lorient, and En Avant de Guingamp. On 12 January 2002, Essien scored the equalising goal against Olympique de Marseille at the Stade Vélodrome to even the match at 2–2. Michael Essien also scored a goal in the Coupe de la Ligue against Le Mans Football Club. Future Chelsea teammate Didier Drogba converted a goal for Le Mans in the match.

In the 2002–03 Ligue 1, Essien developed into an undisputed starter under new manager Gérard Gili. However, Michael Essien tenacious and physical style of play also began to take form as Michael Essien collected a staggering 12 yellow cards in league play. Michael Essien opened the new campaign by scoring on Michael Essien season debut against RC Lens in a 1–1 draw and converted five more league goals, which included one in a surprising 2–0 victory over the defending champions Olympique Lyonnais. Following the campaign, in which Bastia finished mid-table for the third consecutive season, Essien drew interest from Paris Saint-Germain F.C., Lyon, and Marseille.

Olympique Lyonnais

Paris Saint-Germain made Bastia the best offer and it was accepted, but Essien rejected PSG's contract offer, and instead agreed terms with the two-time defending champions Lyon, who paid Bastia €7.8 million for the transfer. Upon Michael Essien arrival, Essien was assigned the number 4 shirt and played as a box-to-box midfielder, which allowed Michael Essien the freedom to protect and assist playmaker Juninho Pernambucano while defensive midfielders Edmilson and Mahamadou Diarra assisted the defence and directed the distribution. Michael Essien made Michael Essien club debut in the team's 2003 Trophée des champions match against AJ Auxerre on 27 July 2003. In just the 5th minute of play, Essien scored Michael Essien first goal for the club. Four minutes later, Diarra netted a goal. Lyon won the match 2–1 giving Essien Michael Essien first club honour as a player. In just the third match of the campaign, Essien scored Michael Essien first league goal for the club in a 3–1 victory over AS Monaco FC. Michael Essien featured regularly for the rest of the campaign making 33 more league appearances and scoring two more goals against FC Girondins de Bordeaux and Stade Rennais F.C., respectively. On 23 May 2004, Lyon sealed their third consecutive league title by defeating Lille OSC 3–0 at the Stade Gerland. Essien appeared as a substitute in the match. In the UEFA Champions League, Essien appeared in eight of the ten matches Lyon contested and the club was ultimately eliminated by Portugal club and the eventual champions F.C. Porto.

In Michael Essien 2004–05 Ligue 1 at Lyon, Essien appeared in all but one league match as Lyon were crowned champions for the fourth straight season. The match Michael Essien missed was as a result of a Penalty card endured in the previous league match. Essien also scored three goals and collected 11 yellow cards, tied for second-worst in the league. Michael Essien performances in the league resulted in Michael Essien being voted the Trophées UNFP du football Player of the Year by France's National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP). Essien also helped Lyon to reach the quarterfinals of the 2004-05 UEFA Champions League where Michael Essien put in dynamic performances and scored 5 goals in the tournament. Lyon were eventually eliminated from the tournament in a penalty shootout against PSV Eindhoven. At the end of the season Michael Essien was named Trophées UNFP du football. Michael Essien honour started a record streak of UNFP Player of the Year awards for Lyon players with the streak coming to an end in 2008 following Karim Benzema's victory. Michael Essien was also nominated for the 2005 FIFA World Player of the Year Award. Michael Essien placed 22nd in 2005 FIFA World Player of the Year. Michael Essien acclaim drew attention from Chelsea which Michael Essien eventually signed for.


On 14 August 2005, Lyon and Chelsea agreed a Pound sterling24.4 million fee for the Ghanaian, finally ending one of the longest-running transfer sagas. At the time, the fee made Essien Chelsea's most expensive signing of all time, beating the £24 million they paid for Didier Drogba the previous summer. The transfer went through on 19 August. The transfer came under scrutiny in the 2006 allegations of corruption in English football Stevens report report, which expressed concerns because of the lack of co-operation from agents Pini Zahavi and Barry Silkman.

Michael Essien made Michael Essien debut as a second half substitute against Arsenal F.C. on 21 August 2005, wearing the number 5 on Michael Essien shirt. The game ended with a 1–0 victory to Chelsea. Michael Essien made an assist in Michael Essien full debut against West Bromwich Albion F.C., and Michael Essien replaced the injured Claude Makélélé in the defensive midfield role against Sunderland A.F.C. in the 2–0 win on 10 September 2005. Michael Essien soon cemented Michael Essien place in José Mourinho's side, starting in 31 domestic league games, and 11 appearances in the other cup competitions.

On 15 December 2005, Michael Essien was handed a two-match ban by UEFA for a controversial tackle on Dietmar Hamann, which resulted in Michael Essien suspension from Chelsea's Champions League second round tie with eventual European champions FC Barcelona. Essien apologised to Hamann for the challenge – stating while Michael Essien desires to be perceived as a player who "unsettles" opponents, Michael Essien was not a malicious or an unsporting player. Hamann publicly accepted Essien's apology. In January 2006, Essien was himself stretchered off the field, after a challenge from West Ham United F.C.'s captain Nigel Reo-Coker, and was sidelined for three weeks.

Essien scored Michael Essien first goal for Chelsea from a low cross from Shaun Wright-Phillips on 11 March 2006, in a 2–1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur F.C.. Michael Essien second goal came on 17 April 2006, against Everton F.C. with a powerful strike after an assertive burst through the defensive line. Essien ended Michael Essien maiden season in England with two goals, both in the Premier League.

Essien was nominated for the 2006 FIFA World Player of the Year Award on 12 October 2006 where Michael Essien placed 22nd. One week later, Michael Essien was nominated for the 2006 Ballon d'Or. Michael Essien was voted as the Best African Footballer of the Year in 2006, a feat Michael Essien achieved in 2005 as well. Michael Essien won the 2006 BBC African footballer of the year award.

The following season Essien scored several important goals including Michael Essien first Champions League goal for Chelsea in a 2–0 victory over SV Werder Bremen of Germany on 12 September 2006. Later in the competition, Essien scored a late winner in the quarter-final second leg against Valencia CF at the Estadio Mestalla to send Chelsea through to the semi-finals with a 2–1 victory on the night, and 3–2 win on aggregate. It was Michael Essien first match back in the team after several weeks out with a knee injury. Essien also scored a stunning late equaliser at home against Arsenal on 10 December 2006, as the game was going to end Chelsea's long unbeaten run.

On 15 May 2007, Chelsea fans voted Essien as Chelsea Chelsea F.C. Player of the Year for Michael Essien contributions in the 2006–07 season, becoming the first African to receive the honour. Michael Essien late dramatic equalising goal against Arsenal was also voted as Chelsea Goal of the Season for 2006–07.

On 12 August 2007, Essien grabbed the winner with Michael Essien first goal of the Premier League 2007–08 campaign, as Chelsea defeated Birmingham City F.C., to set an English record for unbeaten league matches at home – eclipsing Liverpool F.C.'s previous top-flight record of 63 set between 1978 and 1981.

On 10 October 2007, Michael Essien was nominated for the prestigious 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year Award for the third consecutive year and on 21 October 2007 Essien was also

On 22 July 2008, Essien signed a new five-year deal with Chelsea, keeping Michael Essien at the club until 2013. Michael Essien also extended Michael Essien contract on 12 March 2007.

It was feared Essien would miss the 2008–09 season after sustaining anterior cruciate ligament damage on 5 September whilst playing for Ghana. However, on 7 March 2009, Michael Essien came on as a substitute in the second half of the FA Cup game against Coventry City. In Michael Essien second game back from the knee injury, just before half time, Essien scored to give Chelsea a vital away goal versus Juventus F.C. in the Champions League first knockout round. Chelsea went on the draw the match 2–2 and through to the quarter-finals 3–2 on aggregate. Michael Essien made Michael Essien first league start from injury against Manchester City F.C., and scored the only goal in the match.

On 6 May 2009, Essien scored a stunning left-footed volley in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final against FC Barcelona, a tie that Chelsea ultimately lost due to the away goal rule. The goal was later voted as Chelsea's goal of the season by the club's fans.

In the 2009–10 season Essien put in an excellent performance against Blackburn on 24 October 2009 and scored Michael Essien first goal of the season with a swerving 35-yard shot on 52 minutes in a 5–0 victory at Stamford Bridge (stadium). Michael Essien scored Michael Essien first brace for Chelsea against Wolves with a header and a low shot from outside the box, and came close to completing Michael Essien first hat-trick for the club with a flurry of second half shots, one of which was tipped onto the bar by Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey. Essien was injured on international duty during the 2010 African Nations Cup and missed the rest of the English domestic season. On 4 June 2010, Essien signed a two-year extension to Michael Essien existing contract that will keep Michael Essien at the club until 2015. Essien returned to action on 17 July 2010 in a friendly against Crystal Palace F.C. and scored the only goal of the match to give Chelsea the win.

After missing the 2010 FIFA World Cup through injury, Essien had a bright start to the season for Chelsea. Michael Essien scored the only goal in a pre-season friendly win against Crystal Palace and was an ever-present in Chelsea's unbeaten month of August. Michael Essien scored a brace against West Ham United F.C. and Michael Essien scored against MŠK Žilina in the Champions League. Essien also put in impressive performances against Olympique de Marseille, Blackburn Rovers F.C., and Fulham F.C., a game in which Michael Essien scored the only goal and received a red card. Essien again picked up an injury and missed two months of the season, during which Chelsea won just one out of nine games. Michael Essien returned to score in the penalty shoot-out loss in the FA Cup against Everton F.C. but ultimately had a poor second half of the season. After Chelsea’s final game, the Ghanaian FA announced Essien had returned to the international squad.

In pre-season training for the 2011–12 season, Essien ruptured Michael Essien anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus, and received surgery on 11 July 2011. Michael Essien recovery was said to take up to six months. However, Essien began training lightly in late November 2011. Essien made Michael Essien comeback for Chelsea from a serious knee injury on Monday, 9 January 2012. Essien featured 75 minutes in a reserve match with West Bromwich Albion F.C., a game Chelsea lost 3-2. Michael Essien then made a substitute appearance which is Michael Essien 150th Premier League match for Chelsea in a 1-0 win over Sunderland F.C.. On the 21st January 2012, Essien featured as late substitute in Chelsea's 0-0 draw with Norwich City.

International career

Essien's international career started with the Ghana U-17 national team, the Black Starlets, when Michael Essien played in the 1999 FIFA U-17 Championship in New Zealand and won the bronze medal. In 2001, even though Michael Essien was one of the youngest players in the tournament, Essien took part in the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship with the Black Satellites in Argentina. The Satellites finished runners-up to hosts Argentina. Michael Essien exceptional performances captured the attention of many and was widely tipped to be one of Africa's next rising stars. Michael Essien made Michael Essien competitive senior debut in the 2002 African Nations Cup against Morocco national football team on 21 January 2002. but had played for Ghana national football team in a Pre-Tournament friendly against Egypt national football team on 4 January 2002.

On 16 May 2006, Essien was selected to be part of the team that represented Ghana at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Michael Essien played in midfield with team captain Stephen Appiah formerly of Fenerbahçe S.K. and Sulley Muntari of Internazionale. Essien played in Ghana's 0–2 defeat to Italy national football team, their 2–0 victory over the Czech Republic national football team, and the 2–1 victory over the United States men's national soccer team, 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 national football team 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 would be aiming to make the next finals, held in Africa for the first time in the tournament's history at 2010 FIFA World Cup.

In the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, Essien turned in another brilliant performance, driving the team to the semi-finals with Michael Essien power-packed performances. In the quarter-final against Nigeria, when team captain John Mensah was dismissed on the stroke of the hour for a professional foul on Nigeria's Peter Odemwingie, Essien took over the captaincy for the rest of the game and eventually won 2–1. Michael Essien was voted as an All-Star Player during the tournament. The Team of the Tournament was decided by the Technical Study Group (TSG) after careful observations of all the tournament's matches.

During an international match played against Libya on 5 September 2008 Essien ruptured Michael Essien anterior cruciate ligament playing for Ghana national football team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification (CAF) and was out of action for six months, missing the majority of the 2008–09 season, before returning on 4 March to play for Chelsea Reserves against Aston Villa Reserves. Michael Essien scored the last goal in the 4–3 loss. Michael Essien still managed to take part in 10 of Ghana's 11 qualification matches, clocking up more than 800 minutes of game time, as Ghana finished at the top of their group and sealed a spot at the World Cup. It was announced on 27 May 2010 that Essien would unfortunately miss the World Cup after Michael Essien was told that Michael Essien would not fully recover from Michael Essien knee injury until the end of July, more than two weeks after the tournament had ended. Since then, Essien has announced that Michael Essien will be standing down from the Ghanaian national side for the near future in order to focus on Michael Essien career with Chelsea, having suffered two significant injuries whilst playing for Ghana in recent years.
Having recovered from those injuries, Michael Essien has subsequently made himself availiable once more for Michael Essien nation.


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