Kevin de Bruyne has opened up about his ‘distant’ relationship with Jose Mourinho during his time at Chelsea.
The Belgian, having impressed on loan at Werder Bremen, returned to Chelsea in 2013 but was only handed three Premier League appearances by Mourinho ahead of moving back to Germany, this time with Wolfsburg, in January 2014.
He has since returned to the Premier League and enjoyed the season of his life at Manchester City, placing himself at the heart of an attacking lineup that has blitzed every team – apart from Liverpool at Anfield – this term.
And De Bruyne, speaking ahead of Saturday’s Manchester derby, did not hide the fact that his relationship with Mourinho was decidedly poor.
“I would say distant,” he said. “I’m not really somebody who speaks a lot with coaches if a coach wants to speak with you you do it. He is the boss, you can be good with each other but still there’s a distance between a coach and a player.”
“I only spoke with him twice when I wanted to leave to Dortmund and the second meeting I said I need to go, I need to play football.”
I hope you, presumably a Manchester United fan, are prepared for a spellbinding De Bruyne performance on Saturday followed by the same old spiel from the commentariat and social media warriors lambasting Mourinho for letting such a special player slip from his grasp. Mohamed Salah is another example of this.
But football is slightly more complicated than that. To suggest that Mourinho was foolish to dispense with a player several years ago who is now flourishing just doesn’t hold weight. What if we scrutinised every manager of a player who, once at another club, started to succeed? We would literally be here for days.
The only reason this argument holds weight is because it relates to Mourinho – a man everybody loves to hate.