Ex-Ghana star Michael Essien has blamed Vahid Halilhodži? for his decision to pull the plugs in joining Paris Saint-Germain in 2003.
Essien blamed the Bosnian trainer for handing him a raw deal and rejecting him as a trialist when Halilhodži? was in-charge at Lille.
So when Les Parisiens came calling after an explosive three seasons with Bastia, also in the Ligue 1, he decided to pay back Halilhodži?.
“I turned down PSG because of their coach [Vahid Halilhodži?]. He was coaching Lille when I was with Bastia and I remember going to Lille but after four days I called my agent and told him I don’t want to be here,” Essien said on Carol Tsabalala’s ConvosWithCarol which was monitored by GHANASoccernet.com
“They didn’t give us the opportunity to train and he later told my agent that he had about twenty Michael Essiens in the reserve team. I moved to Bastia and I was doing well and he went to PSG and he wanted me there.”
Paris Saint-Germain made Bastia the best offer and it was accepted but the midfield icon had no love for the capital club.
”The PSG president was a big fan of me and he really wanted me so I told the board of my reasons for not wanting to sign for PSG but rather Lyon and they were like okay but we’re going to have a big problem,” he added.
“The next day the PSG president had a lunch with me and asked why I don’t want to join his team. He’s a very nice man and I respect him up till date, he was so nice but I was straight and honest with him.
”I told him your coach didn’t want me when I was about 18, 19 years old so how come all of a sudden he want me. For me it didn’t make sense.
”Maybe I was young but I remember speaking to the coach on the phone when I went to trial at Lille but the manner in which we ended the conversation was a No for me.
”So I explained to the president and he understood me. After that, I packed my bags straight to Lyon.”
Essien did not regret to decision to sign for the then two-time defending league champions in €7.8 million transfer.
He spent two seasons at the Stade Gerland where he scored seven goals in 71 appearances.
Essien was voted the 2005 Player of the Year by France’s National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP) and also named Ligue 1 Player of the Year.
He got nominated for the 2005 FIFA World Player of the Year Award where placed 22nd.