“He was there, he didn’t have a contract and he was coming all the time with fake trainers and all the guys there were having fun with him,” the Roma boss said.
“The moment he came here and the moment he scored a winning goal, I had to say: Felix, it’s time for the guys to stop bullying you, so let’s buy a proper pair of shoes.
“Now he signs a contract, he goes to Ghana national team and he has fun with the other guys because the other guys are not going to the World Cup, but he is. So in this moment things are changing.”
It will be recalled that, in November, Mourinho promised to buy new shoes for Afena-Gyan following the Ghanaian’s double against Genoa.
The former Manchester United and Chelsea manager went on to fulfil his promise by presenting a pair of shoes worth €800 to the teenager.
The Portuguese tactician has since grown fond of Afena-Gyan, whom he promoted from Roma’s youth side to the first team some months ago.
Meanwhile, Afena-Gyan has now signed a rewarding deal with global sportswear giant PUMA to cater for his boots.
The highly-rated teenager has made a massive impact in the Serie A since making his senior debut for Roma last October.
Afena-Gyan’s stock rose further after he netted a sensational double as Jose Mourinho’s team beat Genoa 2-0 in November.
His second goal came courtesy of his individual brilliance as he pounced on a loose ball before unleashing a curling effort from 35 yards that left the net bulging.
The goal was announced as the fans’ goal of the year at the Socios End of Year awards in December 2021.
Afena-Gyan was also recently named as the fastest player in Serie A for the month of January, beating Lazio striker Ciro Immobile and Juventus star Juan Cuadrado.
His impressive performances at club level earned him a call-up for Ghana’s two-legged World Cup playoffs against Nigeria, where he started both games as the Black Stars booked their place in Qatar.