Why I will forever love African players – Jose Mourinho

Why I will forever love African players – Jose Mourinho

Former Chelsea and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has revealed the reason behind his affinity for African players, often signing them at every club he has managed.

Speaking to former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand on the FIVE podcast, Mourinho, who has garnered admiration for his unmatched appetite for African players, made it known that African players have always been true and loyal to him.

“To be honest, I love the guys, and I feel that the African player is very loyal and very pure. The guys really love me. Even in Europe with many African guys, people really love me,” said the 61-year-old.

Why I will forever love African players - Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho on the FIVE podcast with Rio Ferdinand. [Photo/FIVE podcast/YouTube].

Mourinho has had successful managerial stints in several top European clubs, among them Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan.

At the clubs, he worked with many African stars who brought him enviable success. Didier Drogba, John Obi-Mikel, Salomon Kalou, and Michael Essien were his loyal soldiers during his first stint at Chelsea.

He took Essien with him to Real Madrid and re-signed Drogba when he returned to Chelsea for a second managerial go. In January 2011, he signed Emmanuel Adebayor for Los Blancos on a six-month loan from Manchester City.

Why I will forever love African players - Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho won three Premier League titles with Chelsea with African players like Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, John Obi-Mikel, Salomon Kalou, and Samuel Eto’o being at the centre of the success. [Photo/Premier League].

At Inter Milan, where he also had Sulley Muntari, Samuel Eto’o was his lead man as the Portuguese won a treble in 2010. He later signed Eto’o when he moved to Chelsea in the twilight years of the Cameroonian’s career.

“I love to work with the African players. I think I take the best out of the guys. I think the guys see me as somebody that really loves them and admires their qualities as players and persons,” said the former Tottenham boss.

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Mourinho is currently the manager at Fenerbahçe SK  after being sacked by AS Roma on January 16, 2024, despite leading the Serie A side to back-to-back European finals. In Rome, he signed Tammy Abraham and Romelu Lukaku who are also of African descent.

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