Michael Essien, right, challenging Barcelona's Lionel Messi for the ball in Wednesday's El Clasico at the Bernabao
Ghana star midfielder Michael Essien was top of the match for Real Madrid as they played a pulsating one-all stalemate with Barcelona in the Coppa del Rey on Wednesday night.
The Chelsea loanee, 30, was assigned to right-back by Jose Mourinho at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and he hugely impressed.
Essien policed Madrid’s right-back and put up a man of the match display keeping world footballer of the year Lionel Messi in close check.
On the 16th minute, Messi succeeded in breaching the Madrid central defence and was on his way to scoring the opener for Barcelona when Essien popped up to overpower him and rescue Madrid.
He also put Cristiano Ronaldo through on two occasions with incisive crosses but the Portuguese man failed to convert the chances.