Essien enjoying first weeks in Madrid

Real Madrid midfielder Michael Essien has confirmed that he is settling in well at Santiago Bernabeu.

The Ghana international joined Los Blancos' on-loan from Chelsea in August, and has admitted, although it was a surprise to join the Spanish side, he is enjoying life in La Liga so far.

“I thought I was going to have another season at Chelsea after having a good pre-season,” he told Punto Pelota. “But now I am here in Madrid. I never imagined that this could happen when I returned to training in July, but football is full of surprises.

“It's no secret that Jose Mourinho has had a huge influence on my career. He was kind enough to accompany me on a trip to Ghana when we were at Chelsea, so when he showed an interest in getting me to Madrid, I did not hesitate at all. Of course, I had to come to an agreement with Chelsea, but once I got the nod, everything was set up.

“Mourinho has not changed at all. He expects his players to work had and always demands the very best. His aspiration is still to win every competition. He is a winner and does not change.

“I've only been here for six weeks, but what has impressed me so far is the affectionate and loving people in Madrid, and the city in general.

“From the President to the Coach, the team, the coaching staff and the locals, everyone has been friendly and welcoming. In Ghana we are proud of our hospitality, but Madrid has nothing to envy in that regard!”

He also commented on the relationship between himself and his teammates, some of which he came up against in the Premier League.

“I knew several players before coming here. Iker Casillas as well, reminded me the other day that we played each other in South Africa when we were 16 or 17-years-old. I remember playing against Kaka also, and the Under-20 World Cup in Argentina.

“We are a team in every sense and training is always fun.”

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