The former Chelsea manager gave an account of how he signed the Ghanaian from Lyon on a five-year deal worth £24.4 million in 2005 and narrated how their friendship grew from the pitch to family.
“He [Essien] wasn’t my player; he was my son. I’m his white dad,” Mourinho, current manager of Manchester United, said on B4KO.
“He took me to the place where he was born, to the streets where he was playing football as a kid, to meet the mum, to meet everyone that grew up with him in Ghana”.
"He made me fall in love with the country.”
Their relationship did not end at Stamford Bridge as they reunited at Real Madrid where the 35-year-old played on loan in 2012-2013.
Mourinho praised Michael Essien’s commitment, disclosing that the Ghana midfielder played with a destroyed knee whiles at Real Madrid.
“…As a player he was ready for everything. He was ready to die for the fellow players, for the club, for the manager,”
“He was ready to play like he did for me in Real Madrid with a knee that was not a knee anymore. It was a destroyed knee and with that personality, that desire, that mentality – suffering but always with a smile. Michael smiles a lot with his eyes. I have loved so many of my players but I think Michael will be in for sure.”
At Real, Essien made 21 league appearances and scored twice.
Three seasons together at Chelsea, they won the Premier League, the League Cup and the FA Cup.
Essien is currently a free agent, having been released by Indonesian club Persib Bandung earlier this year.
Mark F. / silveronline24 / SilverFm