Jose Mourinho has opened up about his special relationship with former Chelsea and Real Madrid midfielder Michael Essien, saying: “he is more than a player to me – he is my son”.
In a recent interview, Mourinho showed a side of him we have rarely seen in recent years.
The Portuguese coach’s former ‘Special One’ charm appears to have slowly ebbed away after a three-year spell at Real Madrid and a return to Chelsea both ended badly.
Since his appointment at Manchester United, Mourinho has been more confrontational with the press and his players, and has often cut a frustrated figure in the dugout.
But the manager showed his softer side, and perhaps the side his players more often see behind the scenes than in front of cameras, when asked about his relationship with a former Chelsea star.
Mourinho brought Michael Essien to Chelsea from Lyon in 2005 and he went on to become a firm favourite at Stamford Bridge, making over 250 appearances.
Nicknamed ‘The Bison’ and ‘The Train’, the Ghanaian midfielder was loved by the Chelsea fans for basically running through a brick wall for his team-mates on the field, as well as his penchant for scoring stunning goals.
He was so loved by Mourinho that he took the juggernaut on loan to be reunited with him at Real Madrid for one season, where he scored two goals – dedicating his second strike, in his last game for the Spanish giants, to his boss.
Mourinho was asked about his former player by Malaysian broadcaster Astro SuperSport, and the manager’s comments sparked an emotional response from Essien when he was shown the interview live on TV.
“He was not my player, he is my son – I am his white Daddy,” Mourinho said in an interview at Manchester United’s Carrington training ground.
“Tell you stories? I can tell you more than stories – feelings. That’s the feeling, he is more than a player for me.
“He was probably the only one who took me to his home, to the real home. To the place he was born, to the street where he played football as a kid.
“He made me fall in love with Ghana, with Accra where he lived, because then I had a better understanding of his mentality.
“I understand why as a player he was ready for everything, he was ready to die for the fellow players, for the club, for the manager, why he was ready to play like he did for me at Real Madrid with a knee that was not a knee anymore.
“It was a destroyed knee but with that personality, that desire and that mentality he suffered, always he suffered, but always with a smile. Michael smiles a lot.
“I loved so many of my players but I think Michael would be on the podium for sure.”
This post was created with our nice and easy submission form. Create your post!