Michael Essien says there is more pressure in playing for the Black Stars of Ghana than turning out for Chelsea.
The injured Ghanaian claims the demand of having to excel in the European Champions League and the Premiership on the back of big pay checks is nothing compared to playing for the four time African Champions.
"There is pressure in playing for Ghana than playing for Chelsea. There's is no doubt about that,' Essien told the BBC.
'The people of my country love football so much that when we don"t win we get ourselves in trouble.'
Essien has had first hand experience of that since he was a teenager having played for Ghana at the U-17, U-20 and senior levels.
Despite that distinguished record he has had to live with accusations in the past of not trying enough in a Ghana shirt even though he insist nothing matters to him more than playing for the Black Stars.
'I feel very proud when I wear the jersey of my country because we have got many players but I am among the few who have been chosen,' Essien said.
'This makes me want to die when I play for my country because it is a cause worth fighting for.
'It is the only way I can pay my country back for giving me the opportunity to represent them as a child which opened many doors for me.'
Essien is out of action until late January after picking up an injury during Ghana's World Cup loss against Libya in Tripoli. GFA