Ghanaian footballer Micheal Essien is a legend in Ghana football and to a very large extent a global legend.
He has played for some of the best clubs in the World, namely Lyon, Chelsea, Real Madrid and AC Milan.
The 35-year-old is also a good servant of the nation as he has been capped 58 times by the Black Stars.
Energetic, tough, aggressive on the pitch are a some of the traits he boasts off.
Essien is currently a free agent after being released by Persib Bandung in Indonesia.
Football lovers may not know all about the player regarded as one of the best midfielders to play for Ghana.
Here are 8 things about Essien you should know
1. He is an alumnus of St Augustine’s college
Micheal Essien is an old Student of St Augustine’s College in Cape Coast and begun his football career there.
He represented the school in several competitions and was a favourite due to his football prowess.
2. Had trials at Manchester United
Essien had a trial at Manchester United in April 2000. He played in the club’s under-17 team’s defeat to Derby County.
Manchester United offered him a contract, but he was ineligible to obtain a work permit in the United Kingdom.
He, therefore, considered joining Belgian feeder club Royal Antwerp until he was eligible to move to England.
However, his mother meanwhile preferred a move to France instead.
3.Essien has French citizenship
After a five-year stint in France, Essien acquired French citizenship. He played for Bastia from 2000 until 2003, and Lyon from 2003 to 2005 before making the move to Chelsea.
Holding both Ghanaian and French citizenship, Essien represented the Black Stars of Ghana from 2002 to 2014, playing for Ghana on 58 occasions, scoring nine goals.
4. Essien is married with kids
Essien tied the knot with his publicist girlfriend Akosua Puni in a secret wedding in London.
They are blessed with two kids Michelle Essien and Micheal Essien jr.
He has tried as much as possible to shield his family from the public.
5. First African to win Chelsea player of the Year
Micheal Essien was the first African player to win Chelsea player of the Year award
On 15 May 2007, Chelsea fans voted Essien as Chelsea Player of the Year for his contributions in the 2006–07 season, becoming the first African to receive the honour.
His late dramatic equalising goal against Arsenal was also voted as Chelsea Goal of the Season for 2006–07.
6.Essien runs a Charity Foundation
The Micheal Essien Foundation (MEF) is a local NGO aimed at creating opportunities and hope for the underprivileged in the Awutu Breku area where the player hails from.
The goal of the MEF is to promote basic community amenities and opportunities for various groups through different projects and activities.
Essien’s wife Akosua Puni is the Charity Foundation manager/PRO.
7. He is nicknamed the “BISON’
A camera shy person and always try to avoid public attention when not on the pitch.
Essien’s field forcefulness and tough tackling styles earned him the nickname “Bison”.
Bison is the name of a large and very energetic buffalo-like terrestrial animal.
8. Once dating actress Nadia Buari
Essien once dated fair-skinned Ghanaian actress Nadia Buari and this was not a secret relationship as it was highly publicised given the celebrity status of the pair.
It was so glaring that everyone thought it will lead to something but it wasn’t meant to be as the pair broke up.