Kevin De Bruyne has revealed that he only spoke to José Mourinho twice during the whole time they spent together at Chelsea.
De Bruyne made just three first-team appearances in two years at Stamford Bridge before leaving to join Wolfsburg in 2014.
And the Manchester City midfielder has now revealed that it was a humiliating meeting in former Blues boss Mourinho’s office which convinced him his short time in west London was up.
“When I was at Chelsea, there was so much in the press about my relationship with José Mourinho. But the truth is that I only ever spoke to him twice,” De Bruyne told the Players’ Tribune.
“The plan was always for me to go on loan for a bit. So I went to Werder Bremen in 2012, and that season went great.
“When I came back to Chelsea the next summer, a few German clubs wanted to sign me. [Jürgen] Klopp wanted me to come to Borussia Dortmund, and they played the kind of football that I enjoy. So I thought maybe Chelsea would let me go.
“But then Mourinho texted me, ‘You are staying. I want you to be part of this team.’
“So I thought, O.K., great. I’m in his plans.”
De Bruyne started two of Chelsea’s first four games of the 2013/14 season but quickly fell out of favour for reasons he couldn’t understand until December of 2013 when Mourinho called him into his office.
“He had some papers in front of him, and he said, ‘One assist. Zero goals. Ten recoveries.’,” continued the Belgian.
“It took me a minute to understand what he was doing.
“Then he started reading the stats of the other attacking forwards — Willian, Oscar, [Juan] Mata, [André] Schürrle.
“And it’s like — five goals, 10 assists, whatever.
“José was just kind of waiting for me to say something, and finally I said, ‘But … some of these guys have played 15, 20 games. I’ve only played three. So it’s going to be different, no?’
“It was so strange. We had a bit of a conversation about me going back out on loan. And Mata was also out of favour at the time, so José said, ‘Well, you know, if Mata leaves, then you will be the fifth choice instead of sixth.’
“I was completely honest. I said, ‘I feel like the club doesn’t really want me here. I want to play football. I’d rather you sell me.’
De Bruyne joined Wolfsburg in January 2014 for a fee reported to be in the region of £18m.
The 27-year-old scored 13 times in 51 appearances for the Bundesliga outfit before returning to the Premier League with a £55m move to Manchester City in 2015.
“I think José was a bit disappointed, but to be fair to him, I think he also understood that I absolutely needed to play,” he added.
“So the club ended up selling me, and there was no big problem at all. Chelsea got more than double the price they paid for me, and I got into a much better situation at Wolfsburg.”