Michael Essien says it was new AC Milan boss Clarence Seedorf who convinced him to leave Chelsea this month.
The Rossoneri confirmed on Friday that the Stamford Bridge stalwart was set to join the club on a free transfer, having spent most of the Premier League season benched under Jose Mourinho.
Essien expressed his excitement about playing under Seedorf with the likes of Mario Balotelli and Kaka and thanked the Chelsea hierarchy for letting him join the San Siro side.
"I can't wait to play for Milan," the Ghana international, 31, told reporters after landing in Italy on Friday. "Kaka and Balotelli are great players. I joined Milan because of Seedorf. I spoke with him two days ago. Seedorf is a great man and I hope that he will also become a great manager.
"I'm happy to be at Milan. They're a great club. I will do my best for them. I want to thank [Chelsea chairman] Roman Abramovich, the squad and Mourinho, who gave me the chance to join Milan."
Essien will be the latest expense-free arrival at Milan in the January window on the back of Keisuke Honda's free transfer from CSKA Moscow and Adil Rami's loan move from Valencia.
The Ghanaian is eligible to compete in the Champions League for Seedorf's men - with Atletico Madrid awaiting the club in the last 16 - as he did not feature for Chelsea earlier in the campaign.
Milan, which has underperformed hugely this season and sits 11th in Serie A, scraped into the last 16 in Europe's elite competition and was knocked out of the Coppa Italia in midweek.