Michael Essien is a name that became synonymous with English football.
The Chelsea legend achieved everything at the club level during his time in London and is not just one of Africa’s greatest ever players but also one of the best in the world to ever play the game.
Michael Essien was “fierce”. The Bison never gave anything less than 100% commitment to his clubs and country.
Essien was an extremely hard worker and always focused on developing his game. He never liked the spotlight and shied away from the media. His focus was on constant improvement and taking the next step in football.
It was always about putting in all the hard work to then make a statement on the pitch.
Michael Essien’s all-round contribution on the field and his versatility made him one of the first names on the team sheet at Chelsea. There was no question of him being included in Ghana’s lineup ever. He was simply the best.
What went under the radar was Essien’s ability to pick a pass. He had great passing ability and also had a goal scoring touch when required or called upon.
His attitude and mentality were the two biggest qualities that made him so great on the pitch.
The fact that the Bison did even face any controversy off the field, has earned him lots of respect among journalists and fans.
He was loved by his teammates and coaches, with Essien only making headlines for his footballing qualities rather than his controversies.
Essien won every major trophy with Chelsea FC in England and Europe. He won 2 Premier League titles with Chelsea in 2005-06 and 2009-10. He won 4 FA Cups with the Blues including back-t0-back cup wins in 2009-09 and 2009-10.
He won the League Cup in 2006-07 as well coupled with the FA Cup and was a part of both Chelsea teams that made it to the UEFA Champions League finals.
He was on the losing side in 2008 when Chelsea lost to Manchester United in Moscow but was on the winning team when the Blues beat Bayern Munich in an incredible final in 2011-12.
Wherever the Ghanain midfielder played, success followed. Prior to joining Chelsea, the Bison won back-to-back Ligue 1 titles with Olympique Lyonnais in France in 2003-04 and 2004-05.
His biggest contribution to Ghanaian football, however, was his influence in getting Ghana to their first ever FIFA World Cup in 2006.
He was a part of the U-20 Ghana team that reached the final of the 2001 U-20 FIFA World Cup. He also led the Black Stars to an AFCON bronze in 2008 and runners-up finish in 2010.
Injury cost him a part in the Ghana team that reached the quarter-final of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and maybe the result would have been different for the Black Stars had their star performer been controlling the tempo from the heart of midfield.
Essien spent an amazing 9 years at Stamford Bridge! He enjoyed a close relationship with Jose Mourinho at Chelsea as he enjoyed some of his peak years in West London.
The midfielder, is currently a coach at Danish club FC Nordsjaelland. He went on to feature for the biggest club of them all – Real Madrid and legendary club – AC Milan.
He also played in Greece with Panathinaikos before deciding to play outside Europe as he joined Persib Bandung of Indonesia.
He also represented Sabail in Azerbaijan before hanging up his boots and retiring as a professional footballer. He is now enjoying his time as a coach.
With all that Michael Essien has achieved, he is definitely in contention for being Africa’s greatest ever midfielder and it is hard to argue otherwise.