Former Ghana international Michael Essien has revealed that he arrived at Real Madrid with only a pair of jeans and a shirt.
Essien left Chelsea to sign for Spanish giants Real Madrid on a loan deal in 2012.
Now 37, Essien had made just 10 starts for the Blues in the Premier League in the previous season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus.
The Sabail FK midfield lynchpin said during an interview with South African sports journalist Carol Tshabalala on how his transfer to the Los Merengues transpired, revealing that he arrived in Spain with only jeans and shirt as he was racing against time to catch up with his then-new teammates.
“I was with Chelsea in Monaco for the Super Cup match and a strange number called me but I didn’t want to answer it but my cousin who was in the room with me that day told me to pick it up. The number kept calling so I picked and as soon as I said hello and another hello came from the other end and I realized who was on the phone so I told my cousin it’s Jose Mourinho.”
“We started talking and he said I heard you’re on way to Arsenal but I told him it’s not true. I had not heard anything from Arsenal. Then he said don’t go to Arsenal, come to me and I asked him where, and he said Real Madrid so I told him I’m ready.”
“It was the last day of the transfer and he said okay give me your agent’s number. I told him I’m ever ready even if it means I have to leave in the midst of the Super Cup game and he said Lassana Diarra was supposed to move to Russia so if he accepts to go then they will process my transfer and I told him okay, I’m waiting, just chilling in my room. He said give me a couple of hours I’ll call back and I said cool.”
“My agent called after a few hours and said what happened and I told him I spoke to Jose about moving to Madrid and said he gave Jose my number. He told me to relax because Madrid will come and I just said okay.”
“Lassana accepted to move to Russia so then we had to change our plans because we were about to leave the hotel to the stadium to play Atletico Madrid. Real Madrid was doing there with my agent and I was on the bus as we were about to leave for the stadium. It was even going and my agent called me and said where are you, and I told him we’re on our way to the stadium. He said to come back to the hotel I’m coming there. He said he had to send some fax to some people so I had to shout at the bus driver to stop like some mad man. All my teammates were looking at me like Michael what’s going on. I told them I needed to get off the bus and I’ll see you guys later.”
“So anyway the bus stopped and I went back to the hotel to wait for my agent. My agent came and sent the fax and thankfully everything got finalized on time. I told him I have to go to the stadium because at least I had to pick my boots so we got to the stadium but then they had finished the match. I joined my teammates on the pitch but some of them had heard the news that I was going to Madrid. Some of them also asked what was going on so obviously I had to tell them. I explained to them that this deal came up and I had to return to the hotel to finish the paperwork. So in coming back to pick my boots, I had to tell them goodbye.”
“After the ceremony, we went back to the dressing room where I properly wished them goodbye. I just took my shin pad and boots and that’s it. I said bye to everyone including Abramovic [Roman] and he wished me good luck and then I went back to the hotel. The next day I was on a plane to Madrid.”
“I went to Madrid with just my boots, shin pads, one pair of jeans, and one shirt and my Chelsea tracksuit. I got to the airport Jose was there waiting for me. He greeted me and I went to the hospital to undergo my medical and the next day I started training.”