Photo credit: Andres Kudacki/AP

Remember those early 2010s Jose Mourinho-led Real Madrid squads, who seemed to fight with everybody—opponents, Barcelona, referees, Barcelona, La Liga, Barcelona, teammates, and Barcelona?

Apparently they were like that off the pitch with each other, too.

Marca got an early copy of the soon-to-be-released book José Mourinho: Up Close and Personal by Robert Beasley, and it includes a brutally sad anecdote about Michael Essien’s 30th birthday party in Madrid, where only two teammates showed up:

The former Chelsea midfielder organised a party in December 2012 during his time in the Spanish capital and was left reeling when only a handful of teammates turned up.

Later it emerged that only Luka Modric and Ricardo Carvalho attended the party with the centre-half having known the midfielder from their time together at Stamford Bridge.

Essien attempted to put on a good face for the Instagram filter:

Mourinho had to tell Essien that the sparse attendance had nothing to do with his teammates disliking him, but was because the overall spirit of the team was poor:

“He had to console Essien, saying it was nothing personal and that it didn’t mean the players didn’t like him but they simply were only concerned with themselves and had better things to do.”


It’s not your fault, Michael. It’s not your fault.