Wed. May 22nd, 2024

Michael Essien Claims He And Drogba Gave Clubs Confidence To Spend On African Players

Former Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien claims that after his and Didier Drogba’s Premier League achievements, clubs’ scepticism about spending large sums of money on African players was dispelled.

In 2005, Essien left Olympique Lyon to join Chelsea, one year after Drogba also left Ligue 1 to join the London team.

In his maiden season, Drogba dominated the Premier League under Jose Mourinho, tallying 10 goals and dishing out five assists in 26 games.

That excellent performance, along with others from the Ivorian and himself, according to Essien, cleared the path for teams to feel comfortable investing in African players.

“Whether there is a significant transfer involving an African player is usually a big concern. A year prior to my arrival at Chelsea, Didier Drogba demonstrated it, and I pursued it,” the Ghanaian player stated to Sky Sports.

“I believe he instilled some confidence in the remaining clubs to allocate funds and have faith in the system.”

Both Essien and Drogba won four Premier League titles with the West London team between 2004 and 2014 in addition to four FA Cup titles and the UEFA Champions League in 2012.

In August 2012, Essien completed a season-long loan agreement with Real Madrid, rejoining José Mourinho, his former Chelsea manager. Mourinho spoke to Essien as “his son” with affection during his first press conference with Real Madrid, and Essien called Mourinho “Daddy”.

Essien scored his first goal for Real Madrid on November 3. He scored his second goal for Madrid in the season’s final game, which also happened to be his final game as a player for Real Madrid. He dedicated the goal to Mourinho.

On January 21, 2002, Essien made his official senior debut for the black stars against Morocco in the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations but had participated for Ghana in a pre-tournament friendly on January 4, 2002, against Egypt.

Essien received his call-up to the Ghanaian national team for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany on May 16, 2006. Alongside Sulley Muntari and team captain Stephen Appiah, he played in midfield. Essien participated in Ghana’s 2-0 win over the Czech Republic, 2-0 loss to Italy, and 2-1 triumph over the United States, making Ghana the only African team to go to the 2006 World Cup’s second round. 

He was unable to participate in Ghana’s second-round encounter against Brazil, though, as he was suspended. Ghana lost 3-0. After the team returned to Ghana, Essien stated that they had learned a great deal and would be trying to qualify for the next finals, which will be held in Africa for the first time.

Essien put on another impressive display at the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, leading his team to the semifinals with his powerful efforts. After team captain John Mensah was sent off in the quarterfinal encounter against Nigeria at the hour mark for a professional foul on Peter Odemwingie, Essien took over as captain for the duration of the game, which Ghana won 2-1. During the competition, he received votes for All-Star Player. After closely examining every match in the competition, the Technical Study Group (TSG) selected the Team of the competition.

Essien suffered an anterior cruciate ligament rupture while playing for Ghana in the World Cup qualifying round against Libya on September 5, 2008. He missed most of the 2008–09 season due to his absence, which lasted six months, until he made a comeback on March 4, 2008, when he played for Chelsea Reserves against Aston Villa Reserves. 

In the 4–3 loss, he scored the game’s final goal. Despite this, he was able to participate in ten of Ghana’s eleven qualification matches, logging over 800 minutes of action as Ghana won their group and qualified for the 2010 World Cup.

Essien was informed that he would not fully heal from his knee injury until the end of July, more than two weeks after the competition was scheduled to conclude, which is why it was confirmed on May 27, 2010, that he would miss the World Cup.  

Since then, Essien has made it known that he will be leaving the Ghana national team in the near future in order to concentrate on his career with Chelsea. In the past few years, Essien has sustained two serious injuries while playing for Ghana. After getting better from those wounds, Essien later assured his country that he would be back “very soon”.

In August 2013, Essien made a comeback to the Ghanaian team for their last World Cup qualifying campaign. In the Black Stars’ 2-1 victory over Zambia, he entered as a second-half substitute, helping them advance to the next round. He was included in Ghana’s squad for the tournament finals and started both of the play-off matches against Egypt. He played just once, substituting in the second half of the first game’s 2–1 loss against the United States.

After more than 12 years of active service with Ghana, Essien announced his retirement from international football in July 2018. He claimed that despite having retired prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, former Ghanaian coach James Kwesi Appiah had contacted him back to assist the team.

About The Author

By Isaac

Isaac Affum(iNewtyn) is a passionate blogger who with a careful study aims at providing vital,authentic and educational insights in the world of sports and entertainment and also gives out detailed analysis on questions that is of interest to the society

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