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'José said, 'If Mata leaves, you will be fifth choice'' - De Bruyne recalls moment he decided to exit Chelsea

The Man City star had a meeting with the then Blues boss in 2014, which convinced him it was to time to move on.

Kevin De Bruyne had a difficult spell at Chelsea.
Kevin De Bruyne had a difficult spell at Chelsea.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

MANCHESTER CITY’S KEVIN De Bruyne has written about his experiences with Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and revealed the manager told him he was the sixth-choice in his position.

De Bruyne spent two frustrating seasons with the London club, before moving on to Wolfsburg and eventually joining City in 2015.

The Belgium international midfielder remembers the beginning of the 2014 season fondly.

“When I arrived for preseason [at Chelsea], the vibe was good,” De Bruyne says in The Player’s Tribune.

“I started two of the first four games of the season, and thought I played OK. Not brilliant but pretty good.

“After the fourth game, that was it. I was on the bench and I never really got a chance again.

I didn’t get an explanation. I was just out of favour for some reason.”

When De Bruyne finally got an explanation for his axing, it came with a surprising revelation of where he fitted into his manager’s plans

“Jose called me into his office in December, and it was probably the second big life-chaging moment for me. He had some papers in front of him, and he said, “One assist. Zero goals. Ten recoveries.

“It took me a minute to realise what he was doing.

“Then he started reading the stats of the other attacking forwards – Willian, Oscar, Mata, Schurrle.

“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’.”

De Bruyne went on to say that the meeting with Mourinho convinced him he needed to move on from Chelsea in search of the minutes he needed to play to further his career.

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’.

“I think José was a bit disappointed, but to be fair to him, I think he also understood that I absolutely needed to play. 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.”

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