The ‘Bison’, Michael Essien is the closest Ghana has come to actually getting a Ballon d’Or winner having been nominated for three straight years from 2005 to 2007.
While at French club Lyon in the 2004-05 season, Essien picked up the Ligue 1 title, was named the Ligue 1 Player of The Year, made it into the Ligue 1 Team of The Year, was named in the CAF Team Of The Year, came third for the African Footballer of the Year, and placed 22nd in the Ballon d’Or votes (won by Ronaldinho).
The next season, Essien moved to Chelsea where he won the Premier League title, yet again made it into the CAF Team of the Year, was named the BBC African Footballer of The Year, finished third yet again in the African Footballer of the Year award, and was nominated again for the Ballon d’Or (won by Fabio Cannavaro), although he did not get any votes.
The 2006/2007 season saw Essien win the FA Cup and English League Cup with Chelsea. He was named Ghana’s Player of the Year, Chelsea’s Player of the Year and also picked up the prize for Chelsea’s Goal of the Year. He was nominated for the Ballon d’Or again, this time finishing 24th. The award was won by Brazilian Kaka, the last time a player that wasn’t either Messi or Ronaldo won it, until last year.
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source: citi sports
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