Chelsea FC may have a lot on their mind with their upcoming FA Cup fifth round tie against rivals Manchester City. However, manager Jose Mourinho has taken some time out to offer medical help an unlikely friend: Irish singer Niall Horan, who accounts for 20 percent of pop sensations One Direction.
Horan is currently recovering in London from extensive knee surgery and was spotted in crutches entering Chelsea’s Special Injury Center on Sunday morning. Mourinho is believed to have personally okayed the treatment and sources within the club say that the manager has instructed the club’s best doctors and physios to treat the singer as if he was a member of the squad.
The unlikely friendship between the two is believed to have begun last year when Mourinho was still Real Madrid. It was actually the Portuguese manager who befriended the Irish singer, as his daughter is a huge One Direction fan and Mourinho looked to score some front-row tickets for his little girl. All five members of the band were invited to train with Real Madrid in their Camp Nou ground, and are believed to have remained in contact ever since.
Horan has not issued any details of the cause or nature of his knee injury, although he tweeted to fans last week to say that the surgery was a “complete success” and asked for his privacy to be respected.
It’s unusual for clubs like Chelsea FC to offer medical help to anyone outside the profession, even if they are a singer in a band like One Direction. Premiership clubs will occasionally offer support to lower-league teams, although normally the facilities are strictly reserved for the likes of Fernando Torres, the Blues striker who tore a cruciate ligament in Chelsea FC’s fixture against Manchester United on January 19th as is expected to be out for at least three more weeks.
However, it is not the first time a member of One Direction has been linked to an English football club. Horan’s band mate Louis Tomlinson recently signed a non-paying contract to join the reserve team for Doncaster Rovers and is expected to line up for the first time later this month. Tomlinson has supported Championship side Rovers since he was a kid and has described the opportunity to play for them as a dream come true. His second career as a footballer was due to start earlier in the year, but was delayed when he was injured in a tackle by Aston Villa’s Gabriel Agbonlahor during a charity match in Glasgow.
Despite the kindness shown to him by Chelsea FC, it looks like Niall Horan will continue to support Derby County FC, a rival club of Doncaster Rovers in the English Championship. However Horan, his bandmates and their many fans will be grateful to Jose Mourinho and Chelsea FC if this offer of medical help means that the One Direction singer will be back on his feet in time for the band’s Where We Are tour, which kicks off in April of this year.
By Bernard O’Leary