Former Ghana international, Ahmed Apimah Barusso, has opened up on how his former club manager at Italian side Rimini, used to task him to understudy Michael Essien.
Barusso spent one season at the then Serie B side, before making a switch to AS Roma in 2007.
According to Barusso, Leonardo Acori, the then manager of Rimini was bent on improving him, so much so that he forced him to watch almost every game Essien featured in for Chelsea that season, and tested him on his observations.
“I was always arguing with my coach at Rimini. He told me I had to break into the national team setup and be like Michael Essien,” he told CitiSports in an exclusive interview.
“Anytime Chelsea was playing that season, he would tell me to stop everything I was doing and watch the game and take notes on Essien’s performance.
”Michael Essien was a very great player at the time, and we played in a similar position.
”I had no choice but to watch, because if I wasn’t able to answer his questions the following day, I’d be in trouble,” he added.
Barusso started his career in Ghana with FC Nania before leaving to Europe, where he’s spent his playing days with a host of Italian clubs, most notably AS Roma.
The 35 year old became famous in Ghana after he missed a last minute free kick in the Black Stars’ semi final defeat against Cameroon in AFCON 2008.