Essien was a Chelsea midfielder for nine years, although one of those was spent on loan at Real Madrid. During that spell, however, the 31-year-old was still with the man he calls his 'daddy' Jose Mourinho - a manager that has also worked with Balotelli.
The Portuguese coach eventually let Essien go last term, with the Ghanaian moving to Italy for the first time in his career.
Milan's season went far from as planned, though, with Balotelli, Essien & co. eventually finishing eighth in Serie A, consequently missing out on European football.
The Italian club's pre-season has not gone much better this time around, with Milan - now under the stewardship of Fillipo Inzaghi - losing all three of their International Champions Cup games.
They have since beaten Chivas 3-0, with three friendly games remaining, while Inzaghi may draw confidence from the fact that Balotelli is still at the club, considering the speculation that has surrounded his future this summer.
The 23-year-old scored 14 Serie A goals last term and, should he stay in Milan, will be looking to improve on that tally this year.
Essien could be the man to inspire his 'bro,' with the side's opening league encounter coming against Lazio on August 31.