Romelu Lukaku and Samuel Eto’o feature on an exclusive list of players that Jose Mourinho has signed on more than one occasion during his lengthy career. The legendary Portuguese boss, who was recently sacked by Roma, has worked with hundreds of players over the years but only a select few have thrived under him at multiple clubs.
Lukaku first worked under Mourinho at Chelsea but struggled to make the grade, spending time on loan at West Bromwich Albion and Everton before joining the Toffees on a permanent basis. He went on to reunite with Mourinho at Manchester United in 2017, with the Red Devils paying an initial fee of £75million to secure his signature.
The Belgian forward was signed by Mourinho for the second time last year when he moved to Roma on a season-long loan from Chelsea. Eto’o, meanwhile, joined Inter Milan during Mourinho’s tenure and helped the Nerazzurri to win a historic treble at the end of his first campaign at the San Siro.
Mourinho was clearly in awe of Eto’o and his attacking prowess, saying in 2009: “Eto’o is the best striker that I have worked with.” He later chose to bring the forward to Chelsea during his second spell in charge of the Blues but things did not work out as planned, with Eto’o branding Mourinho a ‘fool’ shortly after his departure.
Six other players have impressed Mourinho enough to earn his trust on more than one occasion, with Chelsea legend Didier Drogba among them. The Ivorian striker scored 73 goals under the guidance of Mourinho over two spells at Stamford Bridge, cementing his status as one of the club’s best-loved icons.
Portuguese duo Paulo Ferreira and Ricardo Carvalho were also signed twice by Mourinho, with the former joining him at Porto before following him to Chelsea in 2004. Carvalho, meanwhile, was snapped up at both Chelsea and Real Madrid and featured more often under Mourinho than any other player, with the exception of John Terry.
Maniche, another Chelsea signing, was a staple of the Porto side that excelled under Mourinho before his move to west London in 2006. He failed to pull up any trees during his six-month loan spell with the Blues, though, and is best remembered for missing a sitter on his first Premier League start before being sent off in the same match.
Michael Essien had a better time under Mourinho at Chelsea, establishing himself as a key asset before reuniting with his former boss at Real Madrid in 2013. His energy, power and skill had deserted him by that point and he had little impact on the pitch, having been signed mainly as a trusted and loyal figure to calm an unstable dressing room.
Essien’s former team-mate Nemanja Matic returned to Chelsea in 2014 at Mourinho’s request after spending two years away at Benfica. The Serbian midfield general went on to join United three years later, explaining that he ‘couldn’t turn down’ the opportunity to play under Mourinho again.
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