Michael Essien named as one of the best ten talents who once played for Lyon


One cannot mention Olympique Lyon’s name in this part of the world of without Michael Essien’s name popping up following the midfielder’s devastating two-year stay at the Rhone-Alpes based club.

Regarded as one of the greatest developers of talent in the last decades, Lyon have seen several superstar players passing through their ranks.

From Michael Essien, Karim Benzema to Juninho Pernambucano, many world-class outfielders have enjoyed football at the French side over the years.

Karim Benzema 

The Real Madrid striker is the fourth top scorer in the history of the Champions League.

Before moving to Los Blancos, he played 148 games at Lyon, scoring 66 goals and assisting another 27.

Alexandre Lacazette 

The Frenchman is the most expensive sale in the history of the club, as he joined Arsenal on a 53 million euro fee.

At Lyon, he had previously managed to score 129 goals and contribute 43 assists.

Michael Essien 

Jose Mourinho regarded him as the most vital cog in his Chelsea midfield.

Essien moved to the Blues in exchange for 38m euros, after having netted 13 goals in 96 matches in France.

Mahamadou Diarra 

Alongside Essien, they formed a formidable duo in Lyon’s midfield.

Real Madrid signed him for a 26m euros fee and he moved to Spain after 170 games and 14 goals for the French club.

Samuel Umtiti 

FIFA U-20 World Cup champion in 2013 and World Cup winner in 2018, Umtiti moved to Barcelona in 2016 in exchange for 25m euros.

At Lyon, he scored five goals in 170 games.

Juninho Pernambucano 

He is regarded as one of the best freekick takers in history.

Lyon paid Vasco da Gama 2.5m euros for his acquisition and he managed to pay it back with 100 goals and 62 assists in 343 games.

Sonny Anderson 

Lyon signed the Brazilian striker from Barcelona for 19m euros in 1999 and he netted 92 goals in 159 games for the French club.

Miralem Pjanic 

The current Juventus midfielder left Lyon to join Roma for an 11m Euro fee.

As a player of the French side, he scored 16 goals and assisted another 21 in 121 games.


He played more than 100 games at Barcelona, after joining the Catalans from Lyon in exchange for 8m euros.

At Les Gones he found the back of the net five times in 155 games.

Ludovic Giuly 

With him and Samuel Eto’o up front, Barcelona won the Champions League trophy in 2005/06 under Frank Rijkaard.

He scored 31 goals in 111 games at Lyon, before moving to Monaco for 8.5m euros in 1998.



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