Signed by Chelsea FC as the most expensive African football player in history in 2005, Essien won a host of titles with the London club in his eight seasons there. With appearances as well for Real Madrid and AC Milan, we take a look at some of the best quotes about Michael Essien.
With 59 international caps for the Ghana national team, and a runners-up spot at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, Essien was a member of four domestic league triumphs with both French side Lyon and Chelsea.
Born in the capital city of Ghana, he worked his way through two teams in France before joining The Blues at Stamford Bridge as the club’s most expensive signing. The honour of a Premier League title in his first season was followed by another four years later, and then a Champions league triumph two years after that.
Intertwined with four FA Cup victories, he was nominated for both the FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d’Or award for three years in a row. After over 250 appearances he moved to both Madrid and Milan for short spells before playing out the final days of his career in Greece, Indonesia, and lastly Azerbaijan.
Physically strong, Essien played mostly in a central midfield role and was nicknamed ‘The Bison’ due to his hard and tough tackling. Now with Danish side FC Nordsjaelland he is currently one of the coaching staff at the club.
“I wanted him because I was looking for a player to finish what is a very strong squad in every position…..We believe he is the best we can get for his position and he can play anywhere in midfield…..He’s young, has a lot of ambition and he has the profile of the player we want.”
Jose Mourinho (Chelsea manager)
“…..best players in Europe in the midfield…..Michael Essien.”
Jean-Michel Aulas (Lyon president)
“Lyon don’t want to lose a player of his quality but we want to acquire a player of that quality.”
Peter Kenyon (Chelsea chief executive)
“If we get Essien we can say we have improved every area of the team.”
“I don’t think the player is overrated. I can assert to you there are not 50 players like him in Europe. I repeat it but he is a kind of player like Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack.”
Gerard Houllier (Lyon manager)
“Lyon existed before Michael Essien and will exist after him but it is true that we are losing a fantastic player.”
Anthony Reveillere (Lyon defender)
“I have not been here long but it is clear to me that Michael Essien is one of the best midfield players in the world…..I have always admired him.”
Luiz Felipe Scolari (Chelsea manager)
“It is great to have somebody like Michael, who has already made a huge contribution…..He is recognised as one of the new gems to have joined the Premiership. He is a big star back in Ghana and is a key man in Chelsea as well…..Michael is young but we have already seen this season how important and versatile he has become…..”
“…..he is fantastic player for the team…..He’s given everything for the club.”
“Essien is a massive player and as long as he’s playing, the national team stands to benefit from his services.”
Anthony Yeboah (former Ghana player)
“He has been one of Chelsea’s best players this season…..He is powerful, intelligent and good technically…..the quality was there and has come through. He’s been fantastic.”
Marcel Desailly (former Chelsea captain)
“He is a jewel and one of the best players in Europe. That’s why Chelsea are so interested in him but they must put in a price that is worth the best European players.”
Jean-Michel Aulas (Lyon president)
“Everything is perfect defensively…..Offensively he has more qualities…..everything is about the strength of his body…..”
“…..we know he’s a quality player…..He’s improving with every game and will get better…..”
Steve Clarke (Chelsea assistant manager)
“…..he is a fantastic player for the team, but he’s given everything for the club…..I know he can continue to play at a high level…..”