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Michael Essien takes break from internationals

Michael Essien has chosen to temporarily withdraw his services for the Ghana national side in order to focus on club concerns with Chelsea.

Essien sustained a knee injury at the African Nations Cup in January that ruled him out for the remainder of Chelsea's season, as well as Ghana's campaign at the 2010 World Cup.

The midfielder has suffered with a number of fitness problems during his time at Stamford Bridge and wants to ease the strain on his body by enjoying an international hiatus.

"I think I will be taking a break," Essien said. "Not retiring, just not playing for time. I have to take the right decision for myself. I don't know whether they will be disappointed because they have done fine without me."

Essien's statement comes as a real setback for Ghana side that, although they reached the World Cup finals, would welcome their iconic captain when fit.

Only recently, Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac said he was looking forward to Essien returning to the Black Stars squad having missed the World Cup in South Africa.

"Michael is still an important component of this side, he is a special player," Rajevac said. "Essien brings a special dimension to this team. We are looking forward to having him back with us."

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