Former Ghana and Chelsea star Michael Essien has joined the coaching staff of Danish side Nordsjaelland for the 2021-season.
The 37-year-old is taking a big step towards his coaching dreams, having long talked about his ambition.
"FC Nordsjælland has signed the former Black Star, Lyon, Real Madrid, and Chelsea player as part of the club’s coaching staff for the season 2020/2021," the Wild Tigers announced on their official website on Wednesday.
Last on the books of Azerbaijani fold Sabail as a player-coach, Essien is yet to officially announce his retirement from active football despite his latest coaching role.
Earlier this year, he spent a brief period with FCN as part of his activities toward securing his coaching badges.
"Michael left a very positive impression here during his visit and we continued the dialogue with him after he had left," Nordsjaelland Sports director Jan Laursen said.
"We felt he was excited by what he experienced here through our philosophy, the people he met at the club, and that our environment inspired him.
"At the same time, Michael’s visit gave us a clear impression of how much a coaching staff member on the pitch, as an active part of the training with the players, can contribute and add.
"That part we are really looking forward to further developing, and we are very happy that it can happen through and with such a football and human capacity, as Michael Essien is."
I am delighted to have joined @fcnordsjaelland coaching staff as part of my development towards my full coaching licence. I will also be assisting the players on and off the pitch as part of my role. #transitionontocoacching #yearoftransition #learning #coaching 🙏🏿⚽️🏃🏿♂️ pic.twitter.com/NE2C3jyDHV— Michael Essien® (@MichaelEssien) September 9, 2020
Essien has enjoyed a glittering playing career, having featured for the likes of Olympique Lyon, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Chelsea, with whom he won the Champions League in 2012.
"In the coaching staff we’ve experienced Michael Essien as both curious and hungry for knowledge before and after the training sessions, but at the same time also contributing and giving among the players during the training," Nordsjaelland head coach Flemming Pedersen added.
"His career and experience speak for itself, but when you add his humble and giving personality, this is an exceptional opportunity for us to get a person added to the staff who can help make our environment even more developing for our players and also add valuable input to the coaching team and be our hand on the training pitch.
"We are very much looking forward to welcoming Michael to FCN."
Essien also played for Ghana at two World Cup tournaments - Germany 2006 and Brazil 2014.
He joins Ghanaian coach Mas-Ud Didi Draman in Nordsjaelland's coaching staff while former international teammates Derek Boateng and Laryea Kingston also work with the outfit in other technical capacities.
The Right to Dream Academy in Ghana is a feeder club of the Danish elite division side.