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Essien: La Liga 'more fun' than Prem

February 8, 2013
By Dermot Corrigan, Spain Correspondent

Michael Essien says he finds Spanish football "more fun" than the more physical English league.

Michael Essien
PA PhotosMichael Essien has been forced into service as a full-back for Real Madrid

Essien, 30, who joined Real Madrid on a season-long loan from Chelsea in August, has made 23 appearances in his first six months in La Liga.

The Ghana midfielder said his experience was that the Premier League was more physical, while in Spain teams focused more on passing the ball.

"The English competition is very physical," Essien said. "From what I have seen so far in La Liga, teams want to play in a way that is based more on ball movement. This makes it more fun to play. In England some teams do not focus on playing, but more on the physical contact. That is where I see the big difference."

Essien was speaking as he took part, along with coach Jose Mourinho and teammates Antonio Adan, Jose Callejon and Alvaro Morata, in a 'Train for Real' event organised by Madrid sponsors Bwin. It saw 20 supporters from different countries, including the UK, take part in Thursday's session at the club's Valdebebas facility.

Next Wednesday's Champions League last-16 first leg against Manchester United at the Estadio Bernabeu will be more serious business for Madrid's staff and players. Essien, who while at Chelsea lost out to United on penalties in the 2008 final, said it would a "dream" to win the trophy with Madrid this season.

"To win the Champions League would be a fantastic achievement for me and for the club," he said. "As a player you dream about winning it. We will give our all and see if we can achieve that."