Michael Essien Biography

Wed 06 October 2021 | 5:30

Michael Essien is a former professional footballer with an interesting story. Sportmob brings you Michael Essien biography in this article.

Michael Essien nationality

is Ghanaian. He is a product of Liberty Professionals which is based in Ghana. He started his career at the club back in 2000 and quickly made his way through the ranks. During the course of his career the footballer made a lot of wonders and established his name as a professional footballer.

He is a versatile player with a unique style of play. Back in his days on the pitch, he had an excellent form with great vision and an eye for specific details of the game. He made an impact during his career, and he was praised on many occasions. Michael Essien is well known to be one of the best midfielders of his generation.

Details About Michael Essien You Probably Didn’t Know

Mourinho praised him in an interview by stating: “Everything is perfect defensively. Offensively he has more qualities and scored his goal (against Werder Bremen). From a disciplinary point of view, he is completely clean. He has not one single yellow card. This is because everything is about the strength of his body not about bad fouling or actions in the game.” Find out details about Michael Essien life story in the following.

Michael Essien Information

Before we get into the details of

Michael Essien childhood

and early life we will fill you in with the details of his bio and other information. 

Michael Essien Bio

  • Full name: Michael Kojo Essien

  • Nickname: The Bison

Personal information

  • Michael Essien date of birth: 3 December 1982 (age 38)

  • Zodiac sign: Sagittarius

  • Place of birth: Accra, Ghana

  • Michael Essien religion: Christian

  • Father’s name: James Essien

  • Mother’s name: Aba Gyandoh 

  • Michael Essien nationality: Ghanaian

  • Marital status: married

  • Wife’s name: Akosua Puni Essien

  • Children: Michelle Essien, Michael Essien jr.

Body Measurements

  • Hair color: black

  • Eye color: black

  • Height: 1.78 m

  • Weight: 84 kg

Football Information

  • Position: Midfielder

  • Debut in profession: Bastia (2000)                                                                         

  • Clubs served: Lyon, Chelsea, Real Madrid (loan), Milan, Panathinaikos, Persib Bandung, Sabail     

 Michael Essien Early Life

The former footballer was born on 3 December 1982 in Accra to his parents Aba Gyandoh and James Essien. According to

Michael Essien date of birth

his zodiac sign is Sagittarius. His parents sent him to omoa Nyanyano DC Primary and JSS to study. As a child he was very passionate about football and used to play the game 24/7 with his childhood friends. The little boy dreamed of one day becoming a professional footballer. Michael was very talented and football wasn’t just a passing fantasy for him.

As a result, he decided to pursue his dream of becoming a professional footballer. Following his graduation from St. Augustine's College in Cape Coast he went on and joined a local club called Liberty Professionals. He made an impact while playing in the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship in New Zealand and his performance didn’t go unnoticed by European clubs. Find out more details about Michael Essien biography in the following.

Michael Essien Profile

Over the years Michael came a long way and made a name for himself as a skilled footballer. Based on

Michael Essien bio

he played as a midfielder in his playing days. We have gathered all the details about his career both in clubs and on the international level. Join us in this journey and find how the footballer set foot on the road to fame in the following.

Manchester United

In April 2000, he went on for a trial at

Manchester United

. The young footballer was included in the under 17 team. Michael was offered an agreement however he wasn’t eligible to get a work permit in the United Kingdom, as a result, he switched to another club. The footballer decided to join the Belgian side feeder club Royal Antwerp until he was eligible to get a work permit in the UK. In the meantime, Michael’s mother decided to move to France and live there.


In July 2000, the footballer reached an agreement with the French side,


. He debuted for the club on 30 September 2000, as he replaced captain of the team Laurent Casanova in a game over Metz. The footballer was unable to find his place due to the fact that he was constantly deployed between different positions.

As a result, he couldn’t perform the way he supposed to and finished the season with only 13 league appearances and one goal. In the next season things took another turn as the Robert Nouzaret gave the footballer a chance and put him in a new position as the central midfielder. Learn more details about Michael Essien biography in the following.

Michael Essien Showcasing His Goal Scoring Abilities

Michael formed a good team with Nicolas Dieuze and Cyril Jeunechamp on the midfield and he managed to score vital goals against Nantes, Lorient and Guingamp. On 12 January 2002, the midfielder scored the equalizing goal in a 2-2 over Marseille at the Stade Velodrome. Later he scored a goal during a game over Le Mans at Coupe de la Ligue. During the game his future teammate

Didier Drogba

managed to aim the net for Le Mans. In the 2002-03 Gerard Gili, was appointed new manager of the club and the midfielder made a lot of appearances under his supervision.

However, Michael’s attitude on the pitch saw him receive 12 yellow cards during league games. Michael went on and aimed the net in the opening game of the season in a 1-1 draw against Lens. He managed to score five more goals for the side as well. One of the goals took place in a 2-0 win against Lyon. Thanks to Michael’s goal scoring abilities Bastia finished in the mid-table. His great form on the pitch drew attention from big clubs like

Paris Saint Germain

, Lyon and Marseille. Learn more details about Michael Essien biography in the following.


PSG was interested in having the footballer onboard however Michael rejected their offer and instead he went on and joined Lyon. As a result, Lyon paid nearly €8 million to Bastia for his transfer. He was given the number 4 jersey to play in the midfield. He formed a good friendship with fellow teammate Juninho and assisted him. In the meantime, defensive midfielders Edmílson and Mahamadou Diarra assisted the defense and directed the distribution, which was great teamwork.

The midfielder made his club debut in the 2003 Trophee des champions game over Auxerre on 27 July 2003. In the fifth minute of the game, the footballer aimed the net for his first goal and later Diarra scored for the team. The game was a 2-1 in favor of Lyon, and Michael was handed his first club honor as a footballer. In the third game of the season, the footballer aimed the net for his first league goal in a 3-1 win against Monaco. Learn more details about

Michael Essien biography

in the following.

2005 Player of the Year

Michael’s great form and assists made him a regular player in the squad. He made 33 appearances that season and scored two more goals. On 23 May 2004, Lyon won 3-0 against Lille and secured their third consecutive league title. During that game the midfielder appeared as a substitute. In the

UEFA Champions League

, the footballer featured in eight of the ten games Lyon competed in. However eventually they were eliminated by Porto. In the last season he featured in all matches except for one.

At the end of the season, Lyon got the championship title for the fourth executive season. The reason why Essien was unable to feature in that one game was that he received a red card in the previous league game. He managed to score three goals for the side and was handed 11 yellow cards. His contributions to the team and great form earned him the 2005 Player of the Year title by France's National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP).

Ligue 1 Player of the Year

Aside from his good form and assists on the field, he helped Lyon reach the quarter-finals of the 2004–05 UEFA Champions League. He showcased his great goal-scoring abilities by aiming the net for five-goal in the completion. However, the side was eliminated from the tournament during a penalty shoot-out over PSV. He was named Ligue 1 Player of the Year for his great appearances. He was also nominated for the 2005 FIFA World Player of the Year prize.


noticed the footballer’s achievements and decided to make an offer.

Chelsea’s Most Expensive Signing of All Time

On 14 August 2005, Lyon put an end to one of the longest-running transfer sagas. Lyon was paid £24 million which made Essien Chelsea’s most expensive signing of all time. His transfer fee was even more than Didier Drogba from last summer. The footballer was handed the number 5 jersey and debuted for the side in the second half of the game as a substitute over Arsenal on 21 August 2005. The game was a 1-0 victory for the blues. Find out more details about Michael Essien biography in the following.

Michael Essien Winner of The 2006 Ballon d'Or Accolade

During his complete debut on 10 September 2005, he provided an assist and substituted

Claude Makélélé

on the midfield over Sunderland which was an eventual 2–0 victory. The footballer aimed the net for his first goal on 11 March 2006, during a 2-1 win against Tottenham Hotspur. He scored his second goal on 17 April 2006, in a game against Everton with a strong strike.

On 12 October 2006, Michael was nominated for the 2006 FIFA World Player of the Year Award, and he was placed 22nd. After a week he was nominated for the 2006 Ballon d'Or accolade. He was also nominated for the award in 2005. The midfielder also won the 2006 BBC African footballer of the year award. Find out more details about

Michael Essien biography

in the following.

The First Ever African To Receive Chelsea Player of The Year Award

The midfielder made a lot of wonders at the club and managed to score several important goals. In a 2-0 win against

Werder Bremen

he scored his first Champions League goal. Later during the quarter-final second leg he scored a late winner goal over Valencia at the Mestalla Stadium. Thanks to his goal Chelsea got qualified for the semifinals and managed a 2-1 win and later a 3-2 victory on aggregate. This was his first game with the team following his knee injury which prevented him to feature in the games for several weeks.

His teammate Drogba praised the midfielder for his performance and stated in an interview: “He (Essien) has played every minute this season and is one of the best midfielders in the world. He is unique. He can play right-back, central midfield and centre-back. Chelsea supporters now know why the club bought him.” On 15 May 2007, Chelsea fans voted the midfielder to be Chelsea Player of The Year. Essien became the first ever African to receive such a prize.

Real Madrid (loan)

On 31 August 2012, Michael was loaned to Real Madrid and reunited with his former manager at Chelsea Jose Mourinho. Upon his arrival at the club Mourinho referred to him as his son and Michael called him his “Daddy”. He also had short spells with


, Panathinaikos, Persib Bandung and Sabail before he pursued his career as a coach.

International Career

On the international level, the footballer started with the Ghana under-17 national team called the Black Starlets. He made an appearance in the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship in New Zealand and managed to win the bronze medal. Football pundits praised him for his great performance. Over the years he made a lot of wonders and strong performances for his country. In the quarter-final game of the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations against Nigeria John Mensah, captain of the squad got injured. As a result, Essien filled in his place and captained the team to a 2-1 victory. During the competition, he was voted as the All-Star Player.

Style of play

On the midfield Michael was a strong player and often featured as the central midfielder. His great form and physical ability earned him the nickname "The Bison". He possessed great defensive skills, work rate and vision along with the ability to interpret the game. His leadership skills were one of a kind which set up a good example for other players. Stay tuned for more details about

Michael Essien biography



The footballer received a lot of praise over the years for his great form and goal scoring abilities on the midfield. Jerome Boateng praised him in an interview with GH One TV and stated: “Essien is so professional, you have no idea. Sometimes when we are on break in Europe and we come down to Ghana, Essien wouldn’t come because he was so determined to make it. He was the only player at the U-17 level who kept his position throughout the qualifiers to the tournament. Essien never lost form in his career and always kept his position.”

He added: “When we come for national assignment and are scheduled to leave the next day, Essien leaves the same day - you can see how serious this guy is.” On October 2007, he was nominated for the third year in a row. On 21 October 2007, he was nominated for the 2007 Ballon d'Or Award for the third consecutive year. The footballer was also voted among the 15th Best Player in the World at the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year Awards. On 12 December 2007, he was nominated for the 2007 African Footballer of the Year for the third time. He was runner-up to that year's winner,

Frédéric Kanouté


Goal Celebration

When it comes to celebrating goals, the legendary midfielder runs in joy with an open arm and finger wag as a sign of victory. Learn more details about Michael Essien biography in the following.

Michael Essien Life Outside Football

The footballer is an active person on Instagram he has 1.5 million fans following him on this platform and keep up with his life routine. Michael is a family man however he tries to keep his personal life separate from his professional life. You can’t find a single picture of his family on his Instagram page.  

Michael Essien Personal Life

The former footballer decided to settle in with Akosua Puni Essien who is from Ghanaian origin and citizen of United Kingdom. The stunning Ghanaian once bought an Italian club on the verge of bankruptcy in an auction. She bought the club for €10k. In 2018, Princess Shyngle the 30 years old Gambian actress and producer dropped a bombshell by stating in an interview that she was in a relationship with the Chelsea legend without knowing he was married.

She commented: “I dated him. I had no idea he was married. I had no reason to ask him because I never saw a wedding ring on his finger and there were obviously no pictures of him and any woman on social media so I assumed that he was a single man.” Find out more details about

Michael Essien life story

in the following.

Family Children and Relationships

Before getting into a long term relationship with Akosua and marrying her, Michael Essien was in a relationship with Nadia Buari who is a Ghanaian actress. The couple used to be married to each other however things didn’t go well and eventually they parted ways. The football coach has two kids from his previous marriage, Michelle Essien, Michael Essien jr. who are both grownups now.


Michael Essien religion

is Christian. The former footballer is the founder of Michael Essien organization which aim to provide chances for underprivileged families in the Awutu Breku area of Ghana. Aside from creating chances for people to grow the foundation also tries to fulfill the basic needs of families via several projects. The foundation is currently managed by a group of four local and governmental leaders and departments.

Michael Essien also coordinated a charitable football match which is called Game of Hope. Every year a team of African stars along with European stars play on the field in front of African supporters. Football stars like Didier Drogba, Kaka, Ricardo Cavalho, Luca Modric, Florent Malouda and others featured in the game.

Legal Issues

So far, the football coach didn’t face any legal issues in his career.

Michael Essien Career Statistics

Over the years Michael Essien featured in numerous games with different clubs making an impact with his great goal scoring abilities. We have gathered information regarding the number of appearances and goals he scored in the following.   


In 2000 the footballer joined Bastia and remained at the club for three seasons. He made 76 appearances and scored 12 goals for the side. For the 2003-04 season he reached agreement with the Ligue 1 club Lyon and featured in 96 games while scoring 13 goals for the side. For the 2005-06 season he made a move for Chelsea which made him club’s most expensive signing of all time. He remained at the club for 8 seasons while making 256 appearances at the club and scoring 25 goals.

In 2012 he was loaned to Real Madrid and overall, he featured in 35 matches while scoring 2 goals. In 2013 he moved to

Serie A

club, Milan and stayed at the club for two seasons while making 22 appearances. For the 2015-16 season he joined the Super League Greece, Panathinaikos and made 16 appearances while scoring one goal. In 2017, Essien signed a contract with Persib Bandung and had a short spell at the club for only one season. Later he joined Azerbaijan

Premier League

, Sabail and stayed there for two seasons without scoring any goals.    


On international level the footballer made 59 appearances while scoring 9 goals for Ghana national team.


On 19 August 2020, the former footballer trained with Danish Superliga club FC Nordsjælland and got the opportunity to learn how to train and coach teams. Nordsjælland was linked to Right to Dream Academy and this was how the former midfielder found the project. On 9 September 2020, the club revealed that Essien joined them to be in the coaching team for the 2020-2021 season. He participated in the training sessions and dedicated himself to be a professional coach.

Michael Essien Honors

Over the years the former footballer earned recognition along with awards and titles for his contributions. We have gathered a list of his achievements. Find out more details in the following.



  • Ligue 1: 2003–04, 2004–05

  • Trophee des Champions: 2003, 2004


  • Premier League: 2005–06, 2009–10[90]

  • FA Cup: 2006–07, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2011–12

  • Football League Cup: 2006–07

  • FA Community Shield: 2009

  • UEFA Champions League: 2011–12; runners-up: 2007–08



  • Africa Cup of Nations: bronze 2008, runner-up 2010

  • FIFA U-20 World Cup runner-up: 2001


  • Ligue 1 Player of the Month: October 2004

  • Ligue 1 Player of the Year: 2004–05

  • Ligue 1 Team of the Year: 2002–03, 2004–05

  • CAF Team of the Year: 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009

  • BBC African Footballer of the Year: 2006

  • Ghana Player of the Year: 2007

  • Chelsea Player of the Year: 2006–07

  • Chelsea Goal of the Year: 2006–07 vs Arsenal, 2008–09 vs Barcelona

  • 2008 Africa Cup of Nations: Team of the Tournament

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