Former Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho, has shed light on his relationship with Ghana international Michael Essien during their time together in England.
Following his appointment as Chelsea boss in 2004, Mourinho signed Essien from Lyon on a five-year deal worth £24.4 million in 2005.
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.
“He [Essien] wasn’t my player; he was my son. I’m his white dad,” Mourinho, current manager of Manchester United, said on B4KO.
“The feeling is that [he is] more than a player for me.
“He was probably the one that took me to his home, to his real home.
“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.”
Three seasons together at Chelsea, they won the Premier League, the League Cup and the FA Cup.
At Real, Essien made 21 league appearances and scored twice.
The midfielder, who was last on the books of Indonesian side Persib Bandung, went on to play for Italian club AC Milan and Panathinaikos in Greece.