"The Italian player I like the most is Gattuso. He is an extraordinary fighter - tough, but fair."
Despite his obvious admiration for the Diavolo, Essien was eager to stress that he is happy with his current employers.
"London is the best city in the world," the 25-year-old claimed. "It's a sea port where hundreds of languages are spoken and where football is played. For us English-speaking Africans who love music it is even more fascinating."