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ESSIEN Michael

02 June, 2006

ESSIEN Michael from Ghana.

Name: ESSIEN Michael

Date of birth:   3 December 1982

Height:  180 cm

Weight:  77 kg

Position:  Midfielder

Current Club:  Chelsea (ENG)

Int'l Goals:   3 (as of 30-May-2006)

Int'l Caps:  16 (as of 30-May-2006)

First Int'l Cap:  Ghana v. Morocco (21-Jan-2002)

Detail: A powerful, fast and battling midfield player, Michael Essien burst on to the French scene at SC Bastia and became one of European football's rising stars at Olympique Lyonnais.

National team

Essien starred for Ghana at the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship and graduated to the full national team while still a teenager. He was a member of the squad which reached the quarter-finals of the 2002 CAF African Cup of Nations and has also been involved in qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Club

Born in Accra, Essien joined Bastia from Ghanaian side Liberty Professionals in July 2000. He showed remarkable maturity for such a young man and was immediately drafted into the first team at the Stade Armand-Cesari-Furiani. He was deployed in several positions, including left-back, right-back and centre-half before making the central midfield position his own, and by summer 2003 was reportedly attracting interest from Liverpool FC and Everton FC. In the end he found himself in a tug of war between Olympique Lyonnais and Paris Saint-Germain FC, Lyon winning his signature for a €7.8m fee due to their UEFA Champions League place.

2003: Impressed with both his athleticism and skill, starting 25 games en route to the first title. Essien also gained important Champions League experience, featuring in eight of his side's ten matches.

2004/05: Playing in a more central role, Essien's strength and speed was a major asset for Lyon in attack and defence as they retained the title. Also filled in expertly at centre-back on occasions, most notably in the 3-0 Champions League first knockout round win at Werder Bremen as the French side reached the last eight. Such was his worth, Lyon eventually accepted a bid worth €38m from Chelsea FC for Essien, who signed a five-year contract at Stamford Bridge.

Did you know?

Essien became Bastia's record sale when he joined Lyon, surpassing the previous record of €7.6 million jointly held by Frédéric Née and Franck Jurietti.


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