Former Ghana international and Nordsjaelland player-coach, Michael Essien, has disclosed that the hardest period in his career was when he went to France in 2000 and could not speak French.
In 2002, the Chelsea legend joined French third-tier side, Bastia, from Ghana Premier League side, Liberty Professionals, as an 18-year-old in his first move to Europe.
The 37-year-old former central-midfielder said the language was the hardest part of his career, though he could not eat any other food apart from rice and chicken.
“The hardest part was when I went to France, I couldn’t speak the language. So, for me, that would be the hardest part. And obviously, the only thing I could eat was rice and chicken”, he said on Nordsjaelland’s official YouTube channel.
“But that food side, it didn’t kind of bother me at all, but it was the language bit because once I’m on the pitch, I’m happy with my teammates, training, and playing.”
The Champions League and Premier League winner said immediately they assigned him to a teacher. After seven months, he understood French perfectly.
“But then they have to find me a teacher who can teach me the language and so after every training session I’ll have like another two or three hours learning the language, the French language.
“And after six-seven months, I could practically understand everything, and then I started speaking French.”