MICHAEL ESSIEN has spoken about how he found out about the Ebola rumour and said Milan will be fighting for 3rd place.
Essien is likely to get his first start this season this Sunday when the Rossoneri take on Hellas Verona at Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi. The player, who had to deal with sick rumours about him having Ebola, spoke to Sky Italia & to La Repubblica and discussed several issues.
“The rumours about me contracting Ebola? I was watching TV on a calm Sunday evening at home and then my phone rang – it was Dr. Rodolfo Tavana. ‘What do you want at this hour’, I answered and he said: ‘on the internet someone says you have Ebola but it is not true right?’ We burst out laughing,” Essien said. “Then our chief press officer Riccardo Coli calls me and says: ‘they have a statement in which I say we are heartbroken about your illness but of course it is all false.’ I laugh again, but then my mom calls me and asks how I am. Now my lawyers and I are considering what to do, we study the situation.
“If it wouldn’t be right to play the African Cup of Nations in Morocco (set to be played from 17 January to 8 February)? In fact, we’d all be exposed to a hazard. If someone carries the disease, it threatens to infect us all – a real epidemic. It’s not up to me to make this decision but the risk is there. Football could stop even if in Ghana there was still no case of Ebola.
“Milan’s season? I think last year was hard for us but now everything is different and things are much better. We have to bring Milan back to the top. Our objective is to finish in top 3 this season. We’ll fight hard to reach this objective. Like everyone else, I’d like to start in all matches. I don’t know if I’ll be a starter in Verona but I’m always ready and available.
“I peacefully accept the decisions of the coach. Inzaghi? I really like him as a coach. He is a person who listens to us and even entertains us and makes us go onto the field free to express ourselves. This is also why we’re giving our best. I’ve had many coaches in my career and maybe Inzaghi reminds me a little bit of Ancelotti, who coached me at Chelsea.
“He also left us free to express ourselves and I think it’s the right thing to do. Clarence Seedorf (who signed Essien in the same January in which he was appointed as coach)? Seedorf sent me a text message before he left. We still talk every now and then. And that’s the fate of coaches – at some point they leave. Jose Mourinho? He’s definitely one of the best. We have an excellent relationship. But at least he didn’t ask me anything about the Ebola case. We only talk about football.
“Balotelli? Mario is a good person and we’re good friends as I’d already known him before we met here. He left Milan but I’m sure that he will have a great future. He still has so much to improve, perhaps he needs to improve something in the way that he trains, but he has all the qualities to be a top player. Menez? He has surprised me. I know him from when he played in France and then I followed him at Roma and PSG. Jeremy can still improve a lot but he’s really a top player.”
Essien’s partners in midfield will be Sulley Muntari and one of Andre Poli and Giacomo Bonaventura, depending on the fitness level of Menez. Inzaghi is set to use the former Chelsea role in the De Jong role as the Dutchman is banned.