Jose Mourinho signed Michael Essien from French club Olympique Lyon in 2005 for a then African record fee of £24 million. The combative midfield then went on to make 168 appearances for Chelsea with the bulk of them coming under Mourinho. Even when the Portuguese became coach at Real Madrid, he signed Essien on loan for the 2012-2013 season.
Their relationship has not looked back since then. Speaking to UK-based B4KO, Mourinho said of Michael Essien, “He wasn’t my player. He was my son. I am his white dad. The feeling is that he is more than a player for me.
It seems the 35 year old Ghanaian who now plays in Indonesia, was loved by Mourinho beyond football. It is difficult to think of any other footballer who enjoys Mourinho’s special admiration as much as Essien.
He was probably the one who took me to his home. His real home”, Jose Mourinho said, adding that after he saw where Essien grew up and met his friends and family, he [Mourinho] fell in love with Ghana. This is not the first time either of the two have expressed admiration for the other.
Essien has referred to Mourinho in interviews as “daddy” while Mourinho, in introducing Essien to the press during the loan season at Real Madrid, called Michael Essien “my son”After spending 3 seasons together at Chelsea, Mourinho and Essien won the Premier League, the League Cup and the FA Cup. They were less successful at Real Madrid but it seems that has not hindered their relationship.