Essien eyes injury-free season

Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien is hoping to put two injury-plagued seasons behind him by helping the Blues retain their Barclays Premier League title.

The Ghana midfielder missed the majority of the last campaign after tearing the medial ligament in his left knee while training with Ghana prior to the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

The injury came after a cruciate knee ligament injury restricted the influential midfielder to 19 appearances the previous season when Chelsea struggled to third place in the league.

The 27-year-old, who has played all five of Chelsea's pre-season games, is now hoping for an injury-free season to allow him to make a big contribution to what will undoubtedly be a long and hard campaign.

"It is good to have a pre-season under my belt, personally I think I have done well and I keep getting fitter the more games I play," he told Chelsea's website.

"I feel like I am ready for the season and I am looking forward to it so much.

"I think this season could be a big one," he added.

"The last two seasons I didn't take too big a part in, I didn't start in one but finished it, then I started okay last season but didn't finish it, so this year has to be a good one and hopefully I will stay injury-free and help Chelsea win some trophies."

Essien admits that he was not too disappointed to be hit by the injury, even though it ruled him out of representing Ghana at the World Cup in South Africa.

"These injuries are part of football, so you have to take them when they come and not get too down about it," he added.

"I know a few years ago it could have been the end of my career but with new technologies, surgery and techniques things are good, so yeah, let's go again this season."

Ricardo Carvalho became the fifth player to leave Chelsea this summer when he completed a £6.7m move to Real Madrid yesterday.

The Portuguese, who followed Joe Cole, Michael Ballack, Juliano Belletti and Deco out of Stamford Bridge, revealed that he had reached an agreement to leave the club last summer when Inter Milan - then coach by current Madrid boss Jose Mourinho - were interested in him.

He said: "Last year, when Inter wanted me, I said that last season would be my last in England. Chelsea agreed to that, and that's why the transfer has been so easy.

"I had told them that I wanted to leave and have a go at playing in another country when I was 30 and 31 but they didn't let me."

Carvalho has signed a two-year deal with the Spanish giants where he is reunited with Mourinho, who was previously his manager at both Chelsea and Porto.

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
tv
Life and Style
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Actor, model and now record breaker: Jiff the Pomeranian
Video
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
News
i100
News
Down time: an employee of Google uses the slide to get to the canteen
scienceBosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?