Essien started his career playing for Liberty Professionals in Ghana. In 2000, he moved to France to join Bastia, where he would spend three seasons and appear in over 60 matches before joining Ligue 1 title holders Lyon in 2003. In 2005, Essien signed with Premier League side Chelsea for a £24.4 million transfer fee and, at the time of his signing, was the most expensive African footballer in history. At Chelsea, Essien helped the club win the Premier League in 2006 and 2010, as well as three FA Cups and one League Cup. He won the UEFA Champions League in 2012, while also placing as runner up in the 2008 UEFA Champions League.