Michael Essien at Rijeka: All You Should Know About the Midfielder’s Possible Move to Croatian Side

With the punditry job being the most we have heard about him so far, Michael Essien at HNK Rijeka will surely be a good way for the midfielder to move ahead…

Legendary footballer Michael Essien who has been without a club since the start of this season, is reportedly in talks with Croatian club, HNK Rijeka over a possible move. Sources including Radio Rijeka, have hinted at Essien’s possible move to the Croatian side.

Michael’s move to HNK Rijeka will truly be a resurrection to his football career, following a seeming halt after his exit at Panathinaikos. Though the Croatian side is yet to release any statements to back the reports, football lovers are highly expectant and are waiting in anticipation for a legit confirmation of the reports.

See: 12 Lesser Known Facts About Essien

Reports about Michael Essien at HNK Rijeka if confirmed, will surely come as a great news to loyal fans of the former Chelsea player. Essien with his incredible skill of exerting energy in supporting offensive and defensive play, has been without a club since his controversial exit from Greek giants Panathinaikos.

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Controversial Exit from Panathinaikos

Though Michael Essien seems to have cut all ties with former club, we would like to take you through the dynamics of the controversy. The 34-year-old was in a legal battle with Panathinaikos after he filed a case for 651,000 euros as severance package. Essien who claimed to have been released by the Greek side without his consent, sought the payment of the entire money from his remaining one-year contract with them.

How it happened: Michael Essien had reached an agreement at the start of the season to leave Greek side Panathinaikos after just one season with the giants. Having one year left, the Ghanaian midfielder had indicated that the previously agreed monthly payment of €91,250, was not honored for six months by the Greek club -hence, the legal action.

With controversy emerging, Essien hired the services of highly respected sports lawyers to represent him. Essien’s lawyers; Lina and Aspa Souloukou who are sisters, reported the Panathinaikos to the football authorities of Greece. It was during the controversy that Panathinaikos club authorities revealed their disappointment and why they made the decision.

From the side of Panathinaikos authorities, the Ghanaian midfielder’s stay was marred by series of injury. Since his entry into the club in June 2015, the midfielder sustained so much injury, leading to his being benched regularly at the side’s clashes.

They revealed that Essien’s condition became so bad that he became very idle, playing only 17 games out of 45. More so, out of 13 league games he played, Essien reportedly scored only a goal. This had left club authorities tremendously disappointed, especially as he was their highest paid player -with an annual salary of 800,000 euros.

However, with the involvement or intervention of sports authorities, the two parties have arrived at a consensus. Per the agreement, Essien will be freed, the remaining money left in his one year contract will be paid him. Also, Panathinaikos will not have any benefits from his departure. Essien will be his own agent and will join any club of his choice.

What Essien Has been Up to

In August 2016, Michael Essien was spotted doing a punditry job during a football match in London -between UAE and Saudi Arabian clubs respectively.

Essien during the match, was part of the team that provided insight and analysis for the Saudi based TV station MBC Sports. Taking a leap into punditry, the 34-year-old also hoped for better opportunities ahead, in the world of football.

With the punditry job being the most we have heard about him so far, a new deal with a new club, will surely be a good way to move ahead for the former Chelsea player who is reportedly in talks with Croatian side HNK Rijeka.

HNK Rijeka are currently six points clear of Dinamo Zagreb at the top of the Croatian league. With reports of Michael Essien at HNK Rijeka making waves, the midfielder hopes to experience a more fruitful spell in Croatia than he did in Greece.

About Michael Essien

Michael Essien, a Ghanaian international footballer last played for Panathinaikos and the Ghana national team. Essien’s international career started with the Ghana under-17 national team, the Black Starlets, when he played in the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship in New Zealand and won the bronze medal.

The midfielder who is known for his dashing skills on the pitch, also has a tough tackling playing style -a stunt which earned him the nickname “The Bison.” Among his many achievements, Essien has won the Chelsea Goal of the Season Award twice -2006-07 and 2008/09 seasons.