Michael Kojo Essien (born 3 December 1982) is a Ghanaian former professional footballer who played as a midfielder and is currently a member of Danish Superliga club FC Nordsjælland’s coaching staff. He was also capped for the Ghana national team more than 50 times. During his prime, Essien was considered one of the best midfielders in the world.
Essien started his career playing for Liberty Professionals in Ghana. In 2000, he moved to France to join Bastia, where he would spend three seasons and appear in over 60 matches before joining Ligue 1 title holders Lyon in 2003. At Lyon, Essien won back-to-back league titles in 2003–04 and 2004–05, and won Ligue 1 Player of the Year in 2005. During his five-year stint in France, he acquired French citizenship. In 2005, Essien signed with Premier League side Chelsea for a £24.4 million transfer fee and, at the time of his signing, was the most expensive African footballer in history. At Chelsea, Essien helped the club win the Premier League in 2006 and 2010, as well as three FA Cups and one League Cup. He won the UEFA Champions League in 2012, while also placing as runner-up in the 2008 UEFA Champions League. He has won the Chelsea Goal of the Season award twice, in the 2006–07 and 2008–09 seasons.
Essien is a former Ghanaian international. At the youth level, he represented his country at the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship and 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship, with the latter team finishing as runner-up. Essien made his senior team debut in January 2002 and has represented his nation at three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments. Essien has also represented Ghana at the 2006 and 2014 FIFA World Cups.
Michael Essien’s net worth is estimated to be $45 million, according to the list of richest Ghanaian Footballers.