Madrid: Ghana midfielder Michael Essien described Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho as being "like a father" to him on Saturday after agreeing to move to the Spanish capital on a season-long loan from Chelsea.
Essien was delighted to be reunited with Mourinho, who brought him to Stamford Bridge from Lyon in 2005 as the pair won the Premier League title, the FA Cup and the League Cup together before the latter's controversial departure in the autumn of 2007.
"I am very happy to be here. The call from Mourinho was more than enough for me," said the 29-year-old all-action midfielder, who passed a medical in Madrid despite struggling with several serious knee injuries in recent years.
"I only wanted to play football. He is like a father to me, he knows me very well and I know him too; we understand one another perfectly. He called me and I said yes."
Essien assured that the knee problems that blighted his last season at Chelsea were now behind him.
"It is true that I have had some problems, but now I am in great shape, I feel very strong.
"Real Madrid would not have taken me on if I were not prepared."
Essien later trained with his new teammates for the first time inside the Santiago Bernabeu ahead of Madrid's Liga clash with Granada on Sunday evening.