Michael Essien is considered one of the greatest midfielders of all time. The Ghanaian scored spectacular goals and demonstrated an ability to contain, defend, and power up. His unpredictable passing game, versatility, and defensive commitment are why he is considered an indispensable player on every team he has played on. His long career is an example for all young football players and all professional players who seek to improve their performance. Passed by Lyon, Chelsea, and Real Madrid in particular, Essien has demonstrated that he is an exceptional midfielder and a role model for anyone interested in football. Now retired, the Black Star, who works as an assistant coach at Danish club Nordsjlland FC, gave an exclusive interview to madridistareal, and we present the translation. Read it!
You have been an assistant coach at Danish club Nordsjlland FC since the end of your career in Azerbaijan. Is coaching a passion for you?I really enjoyed coaching during my training at UEFA B, so I can see myself getting involved in this sector in one way or another. I also enjoy spotting and discovering young talent, which allows me to work alongside some youth team coaches to start with and, once there, start to progress.
Now let’s talk about your playing career. At Chelsea, you had a lot of success. You won the Champions League; is it the best period of your career?Yes, I say it… That’s where I spent most of my career in London, so I’m very happy to have been able to win the Champions League there. I know what that meant for the owner of the club and for the club in general. I am therefore happy to have been able to contribute to Chelsea’s success.
In 2009, Chelsea almost reached the Champions League final, but FC Barcelona knocked them out. What do you think was the influence of the refereeing during this match at Stamford Bridge?
This match was difficult to take because we were so close but at the same time so far away… I don’t like to talk about the influence of the referee in a match because it is an element that is beyond our control as players. We footballers on the pitch have a job to do, and we always do it the best we can. We expect the same from referees and assistant referees, but we can’t control that, so it’s better not to talk about it. It was devastating, but that’s football: You have to control your emotions.
You then signed for Real Madrid; how did that go?
My arrival in Madrid was very good. Everyone at the club welcomed me and made me feel at home. I have to say that the club took very good care of me when I arrived, and I have a lot of respect for all Real Madrid employees and staff during my stay. I couldn’t have asked for more, honestly.
How did the players receive you at Real Madrid back then?
The team and the players welcomed me very well, as did the club. I already knew some of the players who were there, which also helped me a lot. Ricky Carvalho, Luka Modric, Benzema, Cristiano… These are all players I played with or knew in France and England, which helped me a lot to adapt. I also became good friends with people like Marcelo, Ozil, and others.