Michael Essien is moving to Azerbaijan side Sabail FK for the next stage of his playing career.
The 36-year-old midfielder, who signed for Chelsea in 2005 and was one of the stars of the side which won multiple trophies during the 256 appearances he made for us, most recently played in Indonesia a year ago.
Now he moves to the capital of Azerbaijan where his new club, which formed only three years ago, are third in the league. Essien has signed until May 2020 and will also be part of the coaching staff for Sabail’s Under-19s as he studies for his coaching badges.
‘I was here three weeks ago,’ Essien said. ‘I had a good chat with the club and they told me about the project. I thought about it, liked it and here we are.
‘It's a different thing to what I have seen before. Looks interesting and exciting, so happy to be here.’
During his Chelsea days, the Ghanaian won the Premier League twice, the FA Cup twice, the League Cup and he was on the bench for the 2012 Champions League final win having featured earlier in the competition.
He also collected the Chelsea Goal of the Season award twice, for characteristically powerful strikes against Arsenal and Barcelona.
He also played in France, Spain, Italy and Greece and made over 50 appearances for the Ghana national side, most memorably helping them to become the only African side in the knockout stages of the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He was named in the team of the tournament at the Africa Cup of Nations two years later.
Essien also featured in the Chelsea Legends game at Stamford Bridge last May.