Ghana international Michael Essien got a mention in Jose Mourinho’s address of a question concerning the best players of his coaching career so far.
The Ghanaian was named when the Portuguese coach recounted some of his most outstanding players
The current Manchester United boss has worked with an array of stars during his managerial roles at several European top sides including Chelsea, Real Madrid, FC Porto and Inter Milan, winning the Uefa Champions League with the last two.
Speaking to Fifa.com, Mourinho hesitated against naming his Best XI ever, in appreciation of the contributions of many others who may not make the cut due to the limitation of the question.
“It’s an answer that I’ve always refused to give and will continue to,” Mourinho said.
“So many players gave their blood and soul when they played for me, how can I name some and forget others?”
“Vitor Baia, Petr Cech, Julio Cesar… how can I choose just one? Jorge Costa, Ricardo Carvalho, Marco Materazzi, Lucio, Walter Samuel, John Terry… how can I choose one?
“Michael Essien, Wesley Sneijder, Nemanja Matic, Costinha, Maniche, Xabi Alonso, Frank Lampard … how can I choose one?
“I don’t think I will ever answer that question because I’ll never forget my brothers in arms.”
Following his appointment as Chelsea boss in 2004, Mourinho signed Essien from Lyon in a five-year deal worth £24.4 million in 2005.
The duo reunited at Real Madrid, which Mourinho joined after winning the Champions League with Inter in 2010.
Essien made 21 league appearances and scored twice during his season-long loan with the Whites in 2012-13.