new deal for essien

Chelsea's Michael Essien has signed a new five-year deal - following keeper Petr Cech and defender Wayne Bridge in committing his future to the club.

Chelsea's Michael Essien has signed a new five-year deal - following keeper Petr Cech and defender Wayne Bridge in committing his future to the club.

The Ghana midfielder, 25, has been a major success since joining Chelsea from Lyon for £24m in 2005.

He said: "I am very happy here. We have a great team and fantastic fans who have always made me welcome. With the addition of the new manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari, I am feeling very positive about the season ahead."

The deal means Essien is contracted to Chelsea until 2013. It was revealed on Monday that Cech had signed a five-year deal with the Blues, while Bridge signed a new four-year contract last week.

Scolari, who has had to endure much speculation about the future of midfielder Frank Lampard since taking over as Chelsea manager this month, is delighted that Essien has pledged his future to the London club.

"I have not been here long but it is clear to me that Michael Essien is one of the best midfield players in the world," stated the former Portugal boss.

"I have always admired him and it is good news for me and for Chelsea that he signs for so long."

l Werder Bremen playmaker Diego defied orders from his Bundesliga club and left Germany yesterday to join Brazil's Olympic team, following the footsteps of Schalke 04 defender Rafinha who went absent without leave on Monday.

Werder Bremen sporting director Klaus Allofs announced the club would take action after repeatedly warning him he would not be released even though Fifa said clubs are obligated to release Under-23 players for the August 7-23 Olympics soccer tournament.

"We were unable to reach an agreement in a 90-minute meeting this morning," Werder said on its website. "Diego feels obliged to join Brazil's team in Paris. He fears not showing up would jeopardise his future career for Brazil."

Allofs, who believes clubs are not obligated to release players for the Olympics, said Werder was seeking intervention from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against Diego, 23. - BBC and Reuters

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