Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho paid an emotional tribute to Michael Essien that left the Chelsea legend almost in tears.
Mourinho and midfielder Essien had a close relationship while they worked together at Stamford Bridge and then Real Madrid.
He told Malaysia’s Astro Supersport: “He was not my player, he is my son – I am his white daddy.
“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.”
Mourinho added: “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.”
After the tribute, Essien was close to tears as he replied: “That’s kind of emotional. It is very nice, we have a very good relationship.
“For him to say that about me is very special.”
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