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Michael Essien

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Birthdate: N/A
Status: Single

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1 Senior club appearances and goalscounted for the domestic league only andcorrect as of 17:46, 24 September 2007 (UTC).2 National team caps and goals correctas of February 11, 2006.* Appearances (Goals)

Michael Essien (born December 3, 1982 in Accra) is a Ghanaian International footballer. He currently plays for Chelsea in the English Premier League. He is a central midfielder and plays as a deep-lying playmaker for the Black Stars, the Ghana national football team.

Born in Accra, Essien began his career in a local club in his native Ghana, called Liberty Professionals FC. He broke through when he played in the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship in New Zealand. This led to considerable attention from European scouts.

PSG made the best offer and Bastia accepted it, but Essien rejected the contract, and instead agreed terms with Lyon. At Lyon, Essien played a more defensive midfield role, featuring regularly in the Lyon team that won the third and fourth of their current string of six consecutive Ligue 1 titles. He was also voted the 2005 Player of the Year by France's National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP).

In August 2005, Essien declared that he would "go on strike" against Lyon because of the club's refusal to accept a transfer bid for him from English Premiership champions Chelsea. It was announced on 14 August that Lyon and Chelsea had agreed a £26m fee for the Ghanaian, finally ending one of the longest running transfer sagas in recent English football history. Essien is now Chelsea's second most expensive signing after the club signed Ukraine forward and captain Andriy Shevchenko from A.C. Milan on 22 May 2006.

The transfer went through on 19 August, purportedly for a slightly reduced fee of £24.4m nevertheless breaking Chelsea's previous record transfer fee, which they achieved the previous season by paying £24m for Olympique Marseille's Didier Drogba. He made his debut against Arsenal F.C. on August 21, wearing the number 5 on his shirt. He soon cemented his place in José Mourinho's side, starting the majority of the league games since his debut. He made an assist in his full debut against West Bromwich Albion F.C., and he replaced the injured Claude Makélélé in the defensive midfield role against Sunderland A.F.C. in the 2-0 win on September 10, 2005. The Chelsea midfield looks to have been strengthened by the powerful, athletic Essien, who could well form part of the Chelsea midfield with Frank Lampard for years to come.

On 16 May 2006, Essien was selected to be part of the team that represented Ghana at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He played in midfield with team captain Stephen Appiah of Fenerbahçe and Sulley Ali Muntari of Portsmouth F.C.. Essien played in Ghana's 0-2 defeat to Italy, their 2-0 victory over the Czech Republic, and the 2-1 victory over the United States, and helped Ghana become the only African team to reach the second round of the 2006 World Cup. However, Essien was suspended for Ghana's second round match against Brazil and could only watch as Ghana lost 0-3.


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