December 9, 2019
Football

Zlatan Ibrahimovic willing to die for Jose Mourinho

talksport: The Special One was confirmed as Tottenham’s new head coach this week, replacing fan favourite Mauricio Pochettino after five-and-a-half years in charge of the north Londoners.

And while he isn’t every ones cup of tea, Mourinho certainly has his supporters, some of whom happen to be the biggest names in world football.

talkSPORT.com takes a look at some of those below, all of whom have maintained excellent relationships – both on and the field – with the Portuguese boss.

Marco Materazzi
The pair struck up a very close relationship during their two-year stint together at Inter.

On the evening of the 2010 Champions League final Mourinho revealed to his squad he would be leaving the Sere A giants for the Bernabeu, ironically the venue for the showpiece clash against Bayern Munich.

After masterminding a first European Cup victory since 1965, Mourinho was captured leaving the stadium by car.

However, Mou pulled over to give one last emotional hug to his close ally Materazzi.

“Mourinho was number one. His secret was to make the players feel involved in the project,” the Italian explained on television programme Undici.

“In Madrid [during the 2010 Champions League final], he told me that he was leaving. I said to him: ‘Damn you for leaving me with Benitez.’”

Michael Essien
The Ghana midfielder played under Mourinho at both Chelsea and Real Madrid, with Essien referring to his boss as ‘daddy’.

Mourinho, too, has said that Essien ‘is more than a player, he is my son’.

Essien won the Premier League with Mourinho at Stamford Bridge in 2006, and was deployed as a makeshift defender during a loan spell at the Bernabeu.

Speaking to Astro last year, he said: “We have a very good relationship and we still talk now and then. Everyone can see the love he has for the game.

“Sometimes you meet people and you just click. He played a big part in my move from Lyon to Chelsea.

“He was talking to me every single day and ever since then we’ve been connected.”

Didier Drogba
The Ivorian is one of the greatest strikers to ever grace the Premier League, and he is clearly indebted to Mourinho for his role in bringing him to Stamford Bridge.

In an interview with BBC Sport last year, he said: “Jose Mourinho is someone really special to me.

“We share a special relationship because when he decided to sign me he changed my life.

“He put me in a situation where I could have an impact on my career.”

Drogba won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups and a famous Champions League crown during a trophy-laden eight-year spell but it could have been all so different without Mourinho’s intervention.

The Ivory Coast international scored 10 Premier League goals in 18 starts during his maiden season at Stamford Bridge and despite winning the league title started dreaming of a fairytale return to Marseille.

An inspiring pep speech from Mourinho in 2005 stopped Drogba in his tracks though, as he considered heading for the exit door. As they say the rest is history…


Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The brilliant and eccentric forward has produced some of the best football of his career under Mourinho, during spells at Inter Milan and Manchester United respectively.

In an extract from his book, I Am Zlatan, the veteran striker spoke glowingly about his former boss.

“He formed an attachment to me even before we met. He would become a guy I was basically willing to die for.

“I felt increasingly that this guy gives everything for the team, so I want to give everything for him. It was a quality he had. People were willing to kill for him.

“No matter how happy I was going to Barca, it was sad to leave Mourinho. That guy is special.”

Wesley Sneijder
Mourinho brought Sneijder to Inter in August 2009 for a fee believed to be close to £13million.

Under Mourinho, the Dutch playmaker enjoyed his most successful season as a professional, lifting the Italian treble and scoring a career-high 16 league goals.

On stage at the 2010 Ballon d’Or awards, Sneijder labelled Mourinho the ‘best coach in the world,’ almost moving his manager to tears.

Their friendship still remains strong to this day. Sneijder, who hung up his boots back in August, has regularly turned to Mourinho for career advice over the years.

“I called him before my decision [to move to Galatasaray] because he’s an important person in my career,” he told ESPN.

“I’ve asked his opinion and he gave me really good advice.”

Source: Published by talksport

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