Chelsea star Cesc Fabregas has revealed how he will always ‘love’ Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho despite his fierce rivalry with the former Blues boss over the years.
Mourinho was the man to bring the Spaniard back to the Premier League in 2014 from Barcelona after moving to his home country from Arsenal.
The two men have come up against each other on several occasions, including in La Liga during Mourinho’s spell at Real Madrid, while the FA Cup final this Saturday will once again see them go head-to-head.
While Mourinho’s second spell at Chelsea went up in flames in the 2015/16 season, which saw him get the sack, it was believed that several of the players had led something of a revolt against their then manager.
However, Fabregas insists that his relationship with Mourinho will always continue to be strong and spoke of his special bond with the Portuguese manager.
“I love him. I always say that,” Fabregas told football.london. “I owe him a lot because he brought me here, I will always remember that. My first year here, Arsene had always treated me like a son, but the closest anyone has been to him was Jose.
“The way he treated me, the way he made me feel, how he let me be a leader of the team from day one. This was fantastic and in all the four years since I joined Chelsea now they will always stay with me.
“It [this experience] is thanks to him. Our history of what happened between us. I played for Arsenal and him Chelsea, Barcelona and him with Real Madrid. We were confronting each other, but then we humbled ourselves and started a good relationship. This is very nice but hopefully it will not be his day and Chelsea can win.
“I was happy at Barcelona but there were players who were there for many years before me. The fans they had them in my heart. For me, it was different because I went and came back and they paid money for me.
“It is more difficult, I never had the same love that the other players had. That’s also because they were such fantastic players, don’t get me wrong! When he brought me here, I had a lot of fire inside of me. It was a fantastic year [with him], to be honest.”
With the Chelsea players having so much experience playing under Mourinho and his tactics over the years, you might think that Fabregas and his team-mates might have the edge on United.
However, the 31-year-old insists this isn’t the case and that the FA Cup final at the weekend could throw up some major surprises.
“Especially in the last two years, we played many games against them and he has changed the system many times,” Fabregas added. “I am sure he will change something again on Saturday. You can expect that, for sure.
“We just need to prepare our game and focus on ourselves. We don’t need to be thinking too much about what they are going to do and we have to do what we do and see what happens.”