Michael Kojo Essien (born 3 December 1982) is a Ghanaian International footballer, currently playing for Chelsea F.C.
In August 2005, Chelsea confirmed the signing of Essien from Lyon, for a reported fee of £24,400,000. Then Chelsea manager described Essien as "multifunctional". After a low-key start to his Chelsea career, which saw a period of adaptation to what referees would accept as legitimate tackles, Essien was voted 2007 Player of the Year by supporters, recognising not just steam-train performances in midfield but also his ability to provide solutions to a multitude of problems elsewhere.
He followed up an outstanding performance in central defence during a clean sheet 2007 FA Cup Final display with his selection at right-back in the Champions League Final a year later, picked ahead of two specialists in the position.
Memorable goals are part of the Essien repertoire. His equaliser against Arsenal in December 2006 was voted that campaign's Chelsea Goal of the Season and was nearly matched by a charge forward and angled drive in Valencia that sent the Blues into the 2007 Champions League semi-final. Then came the 25-yard left-footed volley that almost eliminated Barcelona from Europe in 2009.
That sensational strike came just two months after he had returned from a damaged cruciate ligament sustained on international duty which had kept him sidelined for six months.
Within days he had scored both in Europe and the league, and Michael's short season continued as he put in a trademark dominating performance against Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, and the season would end there on a high with Everton beaten 2-1 in the Final.
Major injury struck again in the 2009-10 season, and again on national service.
New manager Carlo Ancelotti was able to rotate his midfield regularly, meaning Essien was in and out a little in the opening couple of months.
He fired home from distance against Blackburn in late October as Chelsea won 5-0, then dominated Bolton twice in four days and finally providing the effective barrier that prevented Man United from scoring at the Bridge.
Michael hit another two, the first time he had done so for Chelsea, against Wolves in November, his first a header and his second another from outside the area that wriggled under the goalkeeper.
He was imperious alongside Mikel against Arsenal at the Emirates, and scored against APOEL in the Champions League before succumbing to a torn hamstring.
The damage kept him out until January, by which time he had joined up with Ghana at the African Cup of Nations, but after playing 45 minutes against Ivory Coast, he broke down in training with a fresh knee problem.
Michael underwent surgery at the end of January, but complications meant he would not return before the end of the campaign, forced to spend the Double-winning celebrations, and the World Cup, on the sidelines.
He returned fully fit for the 2010-11 season and started excellently, scoring three in two games against West Ham and Zilina, and amply plugging the gap left by the departures of Michael Ballack, Joe Cole and Deco. A needless injury-time red card after heading the only goal of the game against Fulham brought an impressive run to an end, and following his return from suspension the midfielder struggled to dominate games in the same way. Despite that Essien still clocked up 33 league appearances, taking him past the 200-game mark for the club, but disaster struck once more on the first day of pre-season training under new manager Andre Villas-Boas, when further knee damage was sustained, expected to keep him out for a further six months. Ahead of schedule, the Ghanaian returned in a reserve game against West Brom in early January, before a 17-minute appearance against Sunderland at the Bridge a few days later. A string of substitute cameo roles followed as he sought to regain full fitness, before his first start of the season, and 90 minutes, against Manchester United in early February. In the second half of the campaign, Essien struggled to regain the level of consistency in his play which had been his trademark for so long, and had to be content featuring mainly from the substitutes bench. He was an unused substitute in both the FA Cup and Champions League Finals. On August transfer deadline day 2012 he rejoined Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, moving to Spain on a loan lasting one season.
Essien returned from his loan spell and was listed in the 25 man Premier League squad. On 24 September 2013, Essien made his first appearance for the club in over a year, captaining the team in a 2-0 League Cup win over Swindon Town. On 23 November 2013, Essien made his first Premier League appearance for over a year and a half, coming on as a substitute in a 3-0 win at West Ham. On 1 December 2013, Essien made his first Premier League start of the season, but only played 45 minutes in a disastrous game.
|Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other||Total|
|Chelsea F.C. – current squad|
| 1. Caballero • 2. Rudiger • 3. Alonso • 4. Fabregas • 5. Zouma • 6. Rudiger • 7. Kante • 8. Barkley • 9. Morata •|
10. Hazard • 11. Pedro • 13. Courtois • 14. Loftus-Cheek • 15. Moses • 16. Kenedy • 17. Musonda • 21. Zappacosta • 22. Willian • 23. Batshuayi • 24. Cahill (C) • 27. Christensen • 28. Azpilicueta • 30. Luiz • 37. Eduardo