Jose Mourinho has made a lot of friends in football but for every person who remembers the Special One fondly, there appears to be at least one who thinks exactly the opposite.
The likes of Eden Hazard, Iker Casillas and Bastian Schweinsteiger would form part of the latter group, all of whom have fallen out with Mourinho during his decade in mainstream management.
But there are some who have managed to win the Portuguese's favour whole-heartedly. One of them is Michael Essien, who Mourinho famously brought to Chelsea in 2005 before giving him another chance at Real Madrid seven years later.
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The Ghanaian is remembered for his combative performances in the centre of midfield as well as his spectacular long-range efforts, most notably against Arsenal in 2006 and Barcelona in 2009.
For Mourinho, it appears his clearest memory of Essien was a very sad one. It came during his time at Real Madrid and involved his 30th birthday party. Speaking in the upcoming biography 'Jose Mourinho: Up Close And Personal', he reveals it was the moment he realised the Real Madrid squad completely lacked team spirit.
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Lonely Birthday party
The book, written by Rob Beasley, reads: "It had been Real midfielder Michael Essien’s 30th birthday party and the on-loan Chelsea star had invited all his Madrid colleagues to his bash. Only a handful turned up and it was left to Mourinho to console his upset player.
"He told Essien it was nothing personal; it was not even that his team-mates did not like him and, sadly, it was not because they had anything better to do. Mourinho said it was simply because they were more interested in themselves and not others."
There is a very good reason why Mourinho took the snub from Real Madrid's stalwarts personal. Essentially, he thinks the world of the former Lyon man, who recently terminated his contract with Greek side Panathinaikos.
These are the words Mourinho spoke about him in 2013 when he gave Essien the chance to train with Chelsea upon his return to west London.
"He's a great man, he is loyal to me, he is loyal to Chelsea, he was loyal to Madrid, he is loyal to everybody.
"He is a great man, a very good player and I see him now with special motivation. He went to Madrid because he was in a difficult situation here. He recovered his happiness and condition and played very important matches there, in Champions League semi-finals and finals in the Copa del Rey, and to a good level.
"We all know that he is not a 20-year-old boy anymore, and we know the injuries were difficult for him, but he's the kind of player that will benefit a squad of many, many talented kids.
"He has big experience so he will be useful for us. He gives us balance and I know Michael better than anybody else."
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