He became Chelsea’s record signing when the club forked out £24.4 million to price him away from Lyon in 2005.
He spent almost a decade at Stamford Bridge, helping the Blues to win multiple Premier League and FA Cup titles, as well as the UEFA Champions League in 2012.
The 40-year-old also had stints with Real Madrid and AC Milan before calling time on his career after a brief spell with Azerbaijani side Sabail FK.
Essien has since taken to management and is currently serving as a first-team assistant coach at Danish side FC Nordsjaelland.
The Ghanaian is one of many legends working with FIFA in various capacities at the ongoing Qatar 2022 World Cup.
In a Q&A session with the world’s football governing body, Essien said Emiliano Martinez was the best goalkeeper at the tournament.
He also picked France’s Raphael Varane as the best defender and England’s Jude Bellingham as the best midfielder of the World Cup.
Asked to name any retired player who could still be professional, a jovial Essien backed himself while laughing.
“With the guys I’m seeing now, I think I’m the only one who can still play,” the former Chelsea and Real Madrid star joked.