JOHANNESBURG - Ghana's Michael Essien has spoken movingly of the "very emotional" and agonising moments after he learned his World Cup was over, scuppered by a long-standing knee injury.
Writing on the Chelsea website, Essien described his attempt at working his way back from the injury and the realisation he would not be fit in time to compete for Ghana at a second successive World Cup.
"Since my injury in January I had been working hard to come back for Chelsea and Ghana but it wasn't to be.
"I did everything I could but eventually I succumbed to the injury and had to accept the fact that the body takes its own time to heal and you cannot rush things," Essien wrote after extending his deal at the English champions to 2015 on Friday.
"I had my last assessment over a week ago with the Chelsea and Ghana doctors present. It took place at the hotel where all the Ghanaian players were staying and coming out of that meeting was very emotional for me.
"I spoke to Stephen Appiah, the captain, and all the other guys about my inability to join them and you could tell how disappointed they were.
"I have to admit no one was more disappointed than me but that's life and I have to move on," the 27-year-old added.
Essien suffered the injury in training with Ghana during January's African Nations Cup finals.
He had played just 45 minutes at the tournament in Angola after recovering from a hamstring injury.
Essien's last game for Chelsea was in early December in the Champions League.
"What a season it has been. It's had ups and downs for me but as I have always said, I must not grumble," he wrote.