When Michael Esseine takes to the field in Brazil for his second World Cup some may argue he is has a point to prove. Once considered one of the finest midfielders in the world there are many who say he is not the force he once was. Not to mention he was not among the Ghana World Cup squad in 2010 due to injury so missed out on the teams epic run to the quarter finals. The fact remains though that he is one of Ghana’s best and most experience players. He has enjoyed a career that a lot of players from the African continent can only dream of.
At his very best though he is a box-to-box midfielder with the ability to exert energy in supporting offensive and defensive play and for his tough tackling style which has earned him the nickname “The Bison”.Essien can also play as a defender, both on the right of defence and in the centre.
Essien began his career playing for Liberty Professionals in Ghana. In 2000, he moved to France joining Bastia. Essien spent three seasons at the club appearing in over 60 matches before joining league champions Olympique Lyonnais in 2003. At Lyon, Essien won back-to-back league titles between 2003-2005 and also played in the UEFA Champions League for the first time. In 2005, Essien signed for Chelsea for a fee of £24.4 million and, at the time of his signing, was the most expensive African footballer in history, but he remains Ghana’s most expensive footballer ever! At Chelsea, Essien helped the club win the Premier League twice, as well as three FA Cups and one Football League Cup. He later signed a season-long loan deal with Real Madrid in 2012, linking him up with José Mourinho, the manager who signed him for Chelsea. Once the loan spell ended he returned to Chelsea but later joined AC Milan in a permanent deal at the beginning of the year.
Essien is a seasoned Ghanaian international. At youth level, he represented his 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 his senior team debut in January 2002 and has represented his nation at three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and the 2006 FIFA World Cup, where Ghana reached the Round of 16. He has racked up over 50 caps for Ghana since 2002 and has captained the side several times over that period.
Ghana will need Essien at his best in Brazil. The Bison can certainly bite back!
Michael Essien, Me Firi Ghana salutes you!
Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)