Essien ready to play for “daddy”

Michael Essien’s shock deadline-day move to Real Madrid came as a surprise to many, including the man himself. The Ghanaian midfielder however, admits that it was a welcome surprise as the move sees him re-united with the man he refers to as “daddy”— Jose Mourinho.

Essien who is fondly nicknamed ‘The Bison’ because of his powerful physical presence was originally signed by Jose Mourinho for Chelsea in 2005.

Essien describes Mourinho as being “like a father to him” and he proved he meant it by repeatedly calling his manager “daddy” during his press conference.

Reuters reports:

“Daddy (Mourinho) knows me very well, he brought me to Chelsea, and he knows I can play in any position he wants – except goalkeeper.”

Everything went very fast and I was in my hotel room and I had a call from my daddy and he said he would be very happy to have me at the club,” he said.

“I never thought I would end up here. I was focused on Chelsea and I didn’t know that Real Madrid would make a bid for me.

“When Mourinho calls it’s more than enough. All I want to do is play football and when he rang me I said yes immediately.

“When I arrived he was at the airport. We were really happy to see each other and I am really looking forward to starting playing and enjoying the football.”

Essien called Mourinho “daddy” not less than 10 times during the press conference. The twittersphere has been abuzz since with views fluctuating between the endearment being “awesome” to it being “the creepiest thing ever”.

Whatever the view, Essien’s press conference does shed light on perhaps why so many managers have tried but failed at Chelsea since Mourinho.

The Special One with his strange ways, from making the players believe he is their father to praising them in the shower, really had worked a magical spell on the Chelsea players.

Essien believes that he has put a series of serious injuries behind him and is ready to fight for a place in the La Liga side.

“If I wasn’t ready Real Madrid would not have brought me here,” he says.

Real Madrid’s start to the season hasn’t been spectacular. They have taken only one point from their opening two matches and they know that they are going to have to do a lot better if they are to win a second consecutive La Liga tile.

I guess we’ll find out if  “daddy” knows best.

Happy Father’s Day everyone.

If you fancy some mathematical stimulation, here’s the video.

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UEFA Champions League Final: Chelsea’s road to Munich

In less than 5 hours, Chelsea will take on Bayern Munich in one of the most awaited Champions League finals. Both teams are trying to make up for finals past. Bayern Munich lost the 2010 final to Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan and will want to avoid the heartbreak of losing the final on their home ground. Chelsea, on the other hand,  lost the 2008 Final to English rivals Manchester United after their captain John Terry slipped and missed a penalty. It is the Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich’s dream to win the Champions League – a competition Chelsea have never won.

The Blues are finishing sixth in the English Premier League and the only way they can qualify to play in the  Champions League year is by winning the Final today. Their road to Munich has been anything but smooth. Here is a look at their remarkable Champions League campaign.

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Bayern Munich would want to avoid the embarrassment of losing a final they are hosting

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Top 25 teams on the continent

While Manchester City are basking in the glory of a historic title win. Their arch rivals Manchester United are trophyless unless you count the Community Shield.  The English Premier League has been turned upside down. While in Italy an Old Lady is back on the throne. In Spain, Barcelona are hurting and Atletico Madrid are the new UEFA Europa League champions.

Here’s how it all adds up on the European Power Index.

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Sergio Ramos: A star is born

Sergio Ramos, the man whose exploits alone could provide life long fodder for the meme community, has yet again proven that he is a man of many talents. It turns out the golden locked wonder, who likes throwing trophies off  the top of high buses, can sing.

In a recent video published on the official La Liga YouTube channel, the Real Madrid defender successfully crooned alongside Flamenco singer Canelita.

On the other hand, Swindon Town manager, Paolo Di Canio, restored the football-musical talent balance when he went onstage to sing the chorus to British band  Toploader’s hit song ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’.

The band were doing a concert at The Country Ground as a part of the the celebrations for Swindon Town winning the League Two title.

The Robins’ manager could probably blame all the shouting at the referees for his performance.

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Blackburn Rovers: Fowl play

Although Blackburn lost 1-0 to Wigan and are now certain to be relegated this season. They won big points on the creative protests scale.

In November, they showed their arts and crafts abilities by rendering a protest ban completely useless.

Then their weapon of choice was an airplane which had been instructed to fly over the stadium during the game with the fans’ current mantra ‘Kean Out’ attached to it.

Yesterday, a live chicken was their weapon of choice. Wearing the  Blackburn flag as a cape, the proud fowl invaded the pitch early in the first half of  Blackburn’s relegation battle again Wigan.

He succeeded to stop the game until he was caught in the Wigan goal net by the Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi and Blackburn’s Yakubu.

The chicken was released as a protest against Blackburn’s unpopular owners, the Indian poultry giants, Venkys. Thus answering the age old question of ‘Why did the chicken cross the road?’

Move over Anfield cat, there is a new animal hero in the premier league — The Blackburn chicken.

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Swansea City FC: Elvises in the building

Swansea City lost to Manchester United 2-0 last night but this hasn’t deterred the Swansea manager, Brendon Rodgers, from making a strange request to the club’s fans.

Swansea, who were promoted to the premier league this season, have had a good year. They have played good football and have stayed clear of the relegation zone.

In celebration of this and perhaps wanting not be outdone by Hartlepool, the Swansea manager has requested the club’s fans to wear a specific something for their final match of the season at home against Liverpool.

According to the BBC:

“Next week is going to be brilliant. I will be asking all the fans if they can wear as many Elvis Presley costumes as we can because when we got promoted the bookies said there was a greater chance of seeing Elvis Presley than us staying at this level. As a show of our achievement and a bit of fun we’ll ask for our supporters for that and we’ll see what their reaction is.”

Rogers didn’t specify which Elvis he wanted his club’s fans to impersonate – the young sexy Elvis or the bloated Rhinestone wearing version. It will be interesting to see how many start off as the young Elvis and take the one-too-many-pies route into the Rhinestone suit.

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Is this the best return of serve ever?

When Roger Federer hit an amazing between the legs shot against Novak Djokovic to set up  a match point at the 2009 U.S. Open, we thought we’d seen the trickiest of the trick shots.

Not if German/Jamaican tennis player Dustin Brown has anything to say about it. Take a look at his impressive return against Marco Baghdatis at the Munich ATP.

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