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Sports Features of Friday, 31 January 2014

Source: George Osei

The Michael Essien Situation

Former A.S. Roma bankroller Rosella Sensi has said that Italian clubs A.C. Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus and her own Roma, have too many foreign players in their ranks, a situation she said was not healthy for Italian football.
The 42 year old has also classed these foreign imports including Ghana’s Michael Essien as third-rate players who have been discarded by the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United.
The situation with Michael Essien is that is he really a third-rate player as being claimed by Ms Sensi?
The Ghanaian left English giants Chelsea to join AC Milan signing a 17 month deal for an undisclosed fee during this transfer window after eight and a half years on the books of the Blues.
At Chelsea, he established himself very well, winning two Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one League Cup and the European Champions League to cap a remarkable output for the West London club, a period which remains the most successful in the clubs history.
Over the last couple of seasons, he has had limited opportunities to play regularly for Chelsea with injuries and the form of other players playing a part.
And with the FIFA World Cup approaching, the ‘Bison’ as he has been nicknamed, has taught it wise to change clubs and find regular playing time elsewhere as he seeks to build a form that would see him perform for Ghana at this summers Mundial in Brazil.
Essien is not alone in this direction as there are countless examples by players of other nationalities this transfer window that have had similar experiences with their clubs and have decided to find new opportunities to play on a regular basis ahead of Brazil 2014.
It would be difficult to class Essien and the likes as third-rate players simply because he wants enough playing time to prepare for the biggest football showpiece on planet earth.
Fans of the Black Stars would hope he gets his wish to play more with the Rossoneri and find the form which could aid Ghana as they seek to impress once again at the FIFA World Cup.
This is a very big challenge to the 31 year old seen as a big factor in the plans of Ghana coach, James Kwesi Appiah as he plots the Black Stars quest to negotiate their path in Group G were they are paired with Germany, Portugal and the United States.
Former Ghana captain Stephen Appiah has backed his close friend to be a success with Milan believing that the former Real Madrid loanee is still a world class player who has the style to be a big hit in Italian football.
He has also been backed by some notable names in the world’s game including the man who brought to Chelsea, Jose Mourinho, who said prior to his departure to Milan that he believes the Ghanaian can still play at the highest level and that he wishes him well in Italy and at the World Cup in Brazil.
That certainly is the case with Essien and Ghanaian fans would hope that would also be the case when the Black Stars take to the field in Brazil starting with their first game against the United States on June 16 with further games to come against Germany and Portugal on June 21 and 24 respectively.
The onus would be on Essien to prove to Rosella Sensi and those who think like her that he is not a third-rate player as they claim, and, that he can do well in Italy with Milan and then at the World Cup in Brazil in June and July.
Writers email: okotosports@yahoo.com

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