As Michael Essien looks back at his time with English side Chelsea, the workaholic midfielder narrates how his astounding career at the club ended dreadfully.
Michael Essien joined Chelsea from Olympic Lyonnais in the summer of 2005 for a club record fee of £24.4m. Essien went on to win multiple trophies with the club, including the Uefa Champions League in 2012.
However, Michael Essien in 2012 joined Spanish giants and 13 times Uefa Champions League winners Real Madrid on a season-long deal, reuniting with former manager Jose Mourinho.
Speaking in an interview with South African Journalist Carol Tshabalala, the 37 year old narrated how his amazing career at Chelsea ended in topsy-turvy.
“Every injury I had when I was playing for Chelsea I came back stronger. I remember my first injury was around September 2008, I came back much stronger and took my position in the team,” Essien told Carol Tshabalala in a live video interview on Instagram.
“2010 was the same but when Villas-Boas came, I was unlucky because I was part of his plans. I knew him long ago because he worked with Jose. I was part of his plans but then I got injured so I didn’t play any game for him. I returned from injury and played like just five minutes for him so he didn’t really have a chance to work with me.
“Another coach that was very good to me was Ancelloti [Carlo]. He’s one of the best but he was unlucky because I started the season with him but didn’t finish. The second-year I didn’t start but finished with him so he got only like a year from me which was sad. It was due to injuries.”
Prior to Michael Essien’s departure, he helped Chelsea win the Champions League in May 2012 after defeating Bayern Munich on penalties at the Allianz Arena.
“Di Matteo came and obviously I was coming back from injury and I remember we played a Champions League [first leg] game against Napoli and we lost. It was an away game. I think that was the last game for [then manager Andre] Villas-Boas,” Essien said.
“The return game, Di Matteo made the decision to put all the big boys in the game…the [Frank] Lampards, [Didier] Drogbas and the Essiens and we won [4-1] after extra time and qualified.
“A couple of weeks later, he [Di Matteo] said I was not match fit which I didn’t appreciate because if that’s the case, why did I play 120 minutes some few weeks ago against Napoli? But anyway everyone sees things differently so I didn’t mind because I was working for the team.
“That’s when things started declining because I felt a bit down but then I had gotten an opportunity to go to Real Madrid so I proved to them that I’m back [to full fitness]. I was playing at right-back at Real Madrid which was one of the most difficult positions on the pitch but I managed to do it.”
Essien after returning on loan from Real Madrid was sold to Ac Milan in January 2014.