AFCON hero Michael Essien moved to obscure team in Indonesia before retiring

Michael Essien earned both fame and fortune during his illustrious 16-year career in Europe, but did you know he had a brief stint in Indonesia before retiring?

The former Ghana international joined Persib Bandung in 2017, linking up with ex-Chelsea teammate Carlton Cole.

His blockbuster arrival didn't have much of impact mind, as the club finished 13th in the Indonesian top-flight – having finished fifth the previous season.

Essien left the club after just one year and 29 appearances, heading off to Azerbaijani side Sabail before officially hanging up his boots in 2020.

The midfielder first burst onto the scene during the 1999 FIFA U17 World Championships in New Zealand, catching the eye of Manchester United scouts who brought him over to England for a trial.

It's understood the club wanted to sign the teenager, but a work permit scuppered the deal and he signed for French side Bastia instead.

His form there earned him a move to Ligue 1 giants Lyon, where he soon began attracting attention from the biggest clubs in Europe.

Chelsea won the race for his signature in 2005, signing the midfielder for £24 million following a near year-long pursuit.

He went on to win two Premier League titles, four FA Cup, the League Cup and the Champions League at Stamford Bridge.

He formed part of the one of the most menacing midfield trios in the world at the time, partnering with the likes of Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack and Claude Makelele in Chelsea's side.

Who is the greatest African midfielder to have played in the Premier League? Let us know your view in the comments section below…

Essien's blend of physicality and energy saw him appropriately dubbed 'the bison', and he quickly grew into a fan favourite in west London.

He won Chelsea's Player of the Year award in 2007, but is perhaps remembered best for the stunning goals he scored, namely his expert lash from outside the box against Arsenal in 2006, and a crashing volley against Barcelona in the 2009 Champions League semi-final.

Sadly, injuries hampered the latter half of his career, and he was loaned out to Real Madrid in 2012 when his importance to Chelsea began to wane.

He joined AC Milan in 2014, before a switch to Panathinaikos a year later.

Considered one of the best African players of all time, Essien remains a national hero in Ghana, having captained the side for a number of years, and starring for the Black Stars at multiple World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations tournaments.

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