Former Chelsea sporting director, Frank Arnesen has disclosed that the club did everything to ensure Michael Essien plays the 2010 FIFA World Cup after sustaining an injury.
The 36-year-old captained his country to the 2010 AFCON in Angola but sustained a knee injury in the Black Stars’ opening game against the Ivory Coast.
This ruled Essien out for the rest of the tournament and he would also miss the World Cup later that year after failing to recover in time.
Arnesen, who was Chelsea’s sporting director at the time, said the club did everything possible to ensure Essien played at the World Cup but the player couldn’t recover in time for the tournament in South Africa.
The 66-year-old said both Chelsea and the Ghana Football Association (GFA) agreed that the midfielder couldn’t be risked after knowing the full extent of his injury.
“He had a bad injury knee injury and we went to Paris for tests. Our doctors said Essien cannot play in the AFCON because it’ll be too demanding. We need him to rest,” he told 3Sports.
“I explained the situation to the Ghana Football Association president and everyone agreed Essien won’t be risked before the World Cup. We put him on a special recovery and managed his game time but he couldn’t make it in time.”
Essien would leave Chelsea four years later to join AC Milan, having won multiple Premier League titles, FA Cups and the UEFA Champions League.