Roberto Di Matteo Forced Me Out Of Chelsea, Says Ghana Legend Michael Essien
Former Ghana midfielder, Michael Essien has revealed how his playing time at Chelsea was curtailed by former coach, Roberto Di Matteo.
The 36-year-old left Chelsea after winning the UEFA Champions League against Bayern Munich.
Essien reunited with former boss, Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid on a season-long loan deal.
According to him, he felt disrespected and not treated fairly by Di Matteo who took over from Andres Villas-Boas at the halfway stage of that season.
He however subsequently left the club after being much on the periphery due to injuries.
In an Instagram Live Chat with South African sports journalist Carol Tshabalala, Essien narrated the circumstances leading to his exit from the club.
“In 2010, when Villas-Boas came, I was unlucky because I was part of his plans. I knew him long ago because he worked with Jose Mourinho," Essien said.
"I was part of his plans but then I got injured so I didn’t play any game for him. I returned from injury and played like just five minutes for him so he didn’t really had the chance to work with me.
“Di Matteo came and obviously I was coming back from injury and I remember we played a Champions League game against Napoli and we lost. It was an away game. I think that was the last game for Villas-Boas.
“The return game, Di Matteo made the decision to put all the big boys in the game…the Lampards, Drogbas, Makeleles and the Essiens and we won 4-0 after extra time and qualified.
“A couple of weeks later he said I was not match fit which I didn’t appreciate because if that’s the case why did I play 120 minutes some few weeks ago against Napoli, but anyway everyone see things differently so I didn’t mind because I was working for the team.
“That’s when things started declining because I felt a bit down but then I had gotten an opportunity to go to Real Madrid so I proved to them that I’m back. I was playing at the right-back at Real Madrid which was one of the most difficult positions on the pitch but I managed to do it,” Essien concluded.
Essien currently plays for Azaberjan side, Sabail FK.