MY FAVOURITE GAMES: MICHAEL ESSIEN
Both games selected by Michael Essien for this summer series happened on the international stage…
Favourite game played:
Many fans would probably rather forget the match selected by Michael Essien for the one he chooses as the most memorable he has played in, but for importance, drama and a moment of personal inspiration, the Ghanaian cites a Champions League clash at Stamford Bridge as the one he can't get out of his mind.
It was a heart-breaking moment for many Blues when an equaliser right at the death denied Chelsea a place we believed we had earned in a big final, Essien having been the Chelsea goalscorer in the game.
By now readers will have probably cottoned on that the fixture the midfielder has chosen was the meeting with Barcelona in 2009 which saw Chelsea exit the Champions League having had penalty appeal after penalty appeal turned down.
It was also the fixture in which Essien netted that campaign's Goal of the Season, when he rifled an incredible volley into the net from 20 yards after only nine minutes.
That goal gave Chelsea the lead in the tie which lasted until the dying seconds but Andres Iniesta broke Chelsea hearts across the world when, deep into stoppage time, he struck from the edge of the box to level the scores. It meant Barcelona went through on aggregate to face Manchester United.
'I think there have been a lot of games in my career which I've really enjoyed playing,' says Essien.
'The first FA Cup Final at Wembley was good but I will actually say that game against Barcelona, where I scored the goal.
'It had everything happening in that game, and although it ended badly it was a special game to be involved in.'
Favourite game watched:
Essien's choice as a spectator is another famous Champions League clash that was decided at the death. He's chosen the Final at the end of the last century which completed the treble for a certain side from northern England.
Bayern Munich took the lead against inside Barcelona's Camp Nou courtesy of a Mario Basler freekick after just six minutes. It was a one-goal deficit Manchester United would struggle to close.
But then Teddy Sheringham began one of the latest total turnarounds, sliding home an equaliser in the first minute of stoppage time following a corner. Extra-time seemed a certainty but then a substitute volleyed into the net with only seconds remaining.
'I think I'll go for 1999 when Manchester United beat Bayern Munich in injury time as my favourite game watched,' reports Essien who was still living in Ghana at the time.
'The match when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored the winner, it was an unbelievable game to watch.'