ESSIEN LOANED TO REAL MADRID

Chelsea Football Club today (Friday) announces that Michael Essien has joined Real Madrid on a season-long loan.

The 29-year-old midfielder, who joined the club in 2005 from Lyon, will move to the Bernabeu and link up with former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, the man who brought him to Stamford Bridge.

Essien has been a pivotal member of the Blues midfield during his six seasons in west London, winning two Premier League titles, four FA Cups and one Champions League winners’ medal.

After making his debut as a second-half substitute against Arsenal at the beginning of the 2005/06 season, he went on to play a key role in helping the Blues secure back-to-back titles.

The Ghanaian scored his first goal for the club during a 2-1 win against Tottenham and won the Goal of the Season for his long-range strike against Arsenal a year later. He followed that up with the same award for his volley against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final. In total he has scored 25 goals for Chelsea in 247 appearances.

He is a popular figure among team-mates, management and supporters.

You will be able to keep up with Michael’s progress in Spain on this website.

SUPER CUP REPORT: CHELSEA 1 ATLETICO MADRID 4

Summary
On a dreadfully disappointing night in Monaco, the Blues were beaten 4-1 by an impressive Atletico Madrid outfit in the UEFA Super Cup.

A Radamel Falcao hat-trick in the opening 45 minutes ensured the game was all but over as a contest before the break.

Falcao broke the deadlock after only six minutes when he calmly chipped his effort beyond Petr Cech, and 13 minutes later he doubled their advantage with arguably the goal of the night, curling a wonderful strike into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area.

It had been a poor first half performance from Roberto Di Matteo’s men, and Falcao scored a third a minute before the break, taking an Arda Tura pass in his stride before poking the ball into the bottom corner.

Oscar replaced Ramires at half-time for Chelsea, but within 15 minutes of the restart it was 4-0, Miranda capitalising on a defensive lapse.

Gary Cahill scored a consolation goal late on to restore an ounce of pride, but in truth, it’s a night which everybody connected with the club will want to forget.

Team news
Roberto Di Matteo made two changes to the side which beat Newcastle United 2-0 last weekend, with Ramires coming in for Ryan Bertrand and Frank Lampard replacing Raul Meireles. With John Terry missing through suspension, David Luiz and Gary Cahill renewed their partnership at the heart of the defence, while Lampard took over captaincy duties from Petr Cech.

Thibaut Courtois, on loan from Chelsea, started in goal for Atletico, while former Blues midfielder Tiago missed out through suspension.

First half
The Spanish side came flying out of the blocks and were almost in front inside three minutes when Radamel Falcao met an Adrian Lopez cross, only to see his effort crash against the bar with Cech beaten.

Three minutes later, however, their early pressure told, Falcao racing through on goal and chipping his effort beyond Cech, while David Luiz covering was unable to prevent the ball from crossing the line via the aid of a post.

The early deficit forced the Blues into a response, and after Frank Lampard had a long-range effort blocked, Eden Hazard was unlucky as he tried his luck from distance also, fizzing a right-footed strike over the bar.

Atletico looked dangerous every time they broke at speed, and Adrian Lopez forced Cech into a smart stop after accelerating past Gary Cahill.

Falcao, who had been a constant threat during the opening exchanges, doubled his and Atletico’s tally for the night in the 19th minute, pouncing on a loose ball before curling an exquisite effort into the top corner.

The goal sent the travelling Spanish supporters delirious, and they had every reason to be given the highly-coveted Columbian striker’s ruthlessness in front of goal.

By comparison, the Blues faithful were understandably silent, and while they may have been slightly encouraged by a brief riposte after the first goal, it had been a poor start to the game.

What had been a disappointing opening half almost took a turn for the worse 10 minutes before the break, but the fact it remained 2-0 was solely due to poor finishing.

Arda Turan was freed down the right-hand side, and as he played the ball across goal and into the path of Lopez, with the goal at his mercy, the wide man somehow contrived to fluff the opportunity. The danger still wasn’t clear, though, and it was only the foot of the post which prevented Falcao from scoring a hat-trick.

The warning signs had been there, and it was no surprise when, with almost the last kick of the half, Falcao made it 3-0.

As another Chelsea attack broke down, Atletico broke at speed. Turan advanced as Cahill and David Luiz backed off, calmly rolling the ball into the path of the Columbian who made no mistake.

Second half
There was only one change at the break, with the Brazilian Oscar replacing his fellow countryman Ramires in a bid to provide added attacking impetus in the final third.

Torres, had had been enduring a quiet evening against his former club, dragged a shot wide soon after the restart following some neat skill to evade his marker.

With a three-goal lead to protect, Diego Simeone’s side were content to sit back and invite pressure, safe in the knowledge that they possessed all of the attributes required to punish us on the break.

If the task was a sizeable one at 3-0, it became almost mission impossible when Miranda made it 4-0 on the hour.

As a free-kick was swung into the box from out on the right-hand side, we failed to deal with it properly, and as the loose ball ran into the path of Miranda, the defender stabbed his effort past Cech, who got a hand to it, from close-range.

After starting the half brightly, the fourth goal ensured we were playing the last 30 minutes purely to restore some pride, but as an attacking force we were virtually non-existent.

Some pride, to a certain degree, was restored with 16 minutes left to play, when Cahill reacted quickest to a loose ball in the penalty area following a Lampard corner, and smashed his strike beyond Courtois for his second goal of the season.

With our heads up following the goal, a flowing move involving Oscar, Hazard and Mata ended with the Spaniard firing over, and it was to be his last involvement before being withdrawn, replaced by Daniel Sturridge with 10 minutes remaining.

Atletico, however, were still threatening on the break, and Ashley Cole made a timely intervention as Turan looked to tee up Falcao.

Falcao, Atletico’s hero on the night, was replaced by Emre Belozoglu in the 86th minute, and it said much for his performance that the Chelsea supporters joined their Spanish counterparts in affording the striker a standing ovation.

Turan, who had been one of the standout performers, should have compounded our misery when he hit the post in the closing minutes, but the real damage had already been done.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, David Luiz, Cahill; Cole (Bertrand 88); Mikel Obi, Lampard; Ramires (Oscar h/t), Mata (Sturridge 80),Hazard; Torres.
Unused substitutes:
Turnbull, Romeu, Meireles, Moses.
Goal
Cahill 74

Atletico Madrid (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Filipe Luis; Mario Suarez, Gabi;Adrian Lopez (53), Koke (Diaz), Arda Turan; Falcao (Belozoglu 86).
Unused substitutes:
Asenjo, Garcia, Silvio, Costa.
Goals
Falco 6, 19, 44, Miranda 60,

Referee Damir Skomina
Crowd
14,312

TEAM NEWS: CHELSEA V ATLETICO MADRID

Ramires returns to the starting line-up at the expense of Ryan Bertrand for our Uefa Super Cup game in Monaco, while Victor Moses is on the bench.

The Brazilian midfielder was a substitute against Newcastle but is recalled, meaning Juan Mata moves back to the left wing and Eden Hazard continues behind lone striker Fernando Torres.

David Luiz and Gary Cahill continue in John Terry’s enforced absence, he is suspended.

Atletico Madrid have Falcao leading the line, and our on-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois between the sticks.

Chelsea are expected to line up in the following 4-2-3-1 formation:

1 Petr Cech
2 Branislav Ivanovic
24 Gary Cahill
4 David Luiz
3 Ashley Cole
12 John Mikel Obi
8 Frank Lampard
7 Ramires
17 Eden Hazard
10 Juan Mata
9 Fernando Torres

Subs: 22 Ross Turnbull, 34 Ryan Bertrand, 6 Oriol Romeu, 16 Raul Meireles, 11 Oscar, 13 Victor Moses, 23 Daniel Sturridge.

Atletico are expected to match our 4-2-3-1.

Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Filipe Luis; Mario Suarez, Gabi; Adrian Lopez, Koke, Arda Turan; Falcao.

Subs: Asenjo, Garcia, Rodriguez, Silvio, Diaz, Costa, Emre.

The referee is Damir Skomina from Slovenia.

KAKUTA GOES DUTCH

Gael Kakuta will spend this season playing in the top-flight in the Netherlands. He is moving to Vitesse Arnhem on loan.

The 21-year-old winger/attacking midfielder, who has a contract with Chelsea until 2015, has had three previous loan spells, two in the Barclays Premier League at Fulham and Bolton and one in France. He spent the second half of last season at Dijon where he scored four goals in 16 appearances.

Kakuta moved to Chelsea from Lens in 2007 and has made 16 appearances including starts in the Premier League and Champions League. His debut was in November 2009.

At junior international level he was part of the France Under-19 side that won the 2010 European Championships and has played for his nation at Under-20 and Under-21 level.

He joins fellow Chelsea players Tomas Kalas and Patrick van Aanholt who are also on-loan at the Dutch club.

MATA: SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY

Juan Mata is hopeful the Blues can emulate our European success of a few months ago and lift the UEFA Super Cup for the second time in our history when we take on Atletico Madrid tonight.

Manager Roberto Di Matteo was part of the Chelsea team which secured the trophy back in 1998 with a 1-0 win – in Monaco – against Real Madrid, and Mata is desperate to build on the success of last season by overcoming Diego Simeone’s men later this evening.

‘A Super Cup is a special opportunity,’ said Mata. ‘It’s a Spanish team as well, a team where I have good friends. We’d like to add this trophy to our list of achievements.

‘It’s very special, we want to win because of the team, the club. Winning the Champions League was a special moment and now we have another opportunity.’

It’s doubtful whether last season, Mata’s first at the club, could have gone any better. After helping the side secure both the FA Cup and Champions League, he was named as Chelsea’s Player of the Year.

As if that wasn’t enough, he was also part of the Spain squad which lifted the European Championship trophy in Poland and Ukraine, coming off the bench to score the fourth goal in their demolition of Italy in the final.

He has begun the current campaign in a similar manner to the way in which he finished the last one, and his link-up play with Eden Hazard has been a key factor in our three victories thus far.

Mata enjoys playing with the Belgian but stressed that, for obvious reasons, the key to success against Atletico may lay with another particular teammate.

‘Hazard is a good player, he’s fitted in very quickly,’ said the Spaniard. ‘He’s doing everything very well, has a lot of quality and can win a game on his own. We have a great understanding on the pitch already.

‘We have big rivals, Fernando [Torres] knows them very well. They have a strong team, good strikers and defenders as well as quality midfielders.’